Camilo’s Queretaro Caper complete as Whitecaps score dreadful own goalJanuary 6, 2014 at 10:26 pm | Posted in Vancouver Whitecaps, Whitecaps season 2014 | 8 Comments
Tags: Bob Lenarduzzi, Camilo Sanvezzo, Queretaro, Vancouver Whitecaps
With today’s photograph of Camilo Sanvezzo giving the thumbs up while wearing the ugly jersey of Gallos Blancos de Queretaro, it became clear we have seen Camilo play in a Vancouver Whitecaps jersey for the last time.
While the Whitecaps may have a legal case to argue, the days of indentured servitude are over in football. The best we can hope for is an award of damages. The way I see it the case of Camilo may be a precedent setting one because the Whitecaps claim to have exercised a unilateral “option” on Camilo’s services for 2014. My sense is that if the Whitecaps had not yet come to financial terms with Camilo for the final “option year” of his contract, then Camilo may be able to argue the contract is not enforceable because it is only a unilateral wish, not a mutual agreement. Outright ownership of players without personal terms died in football with the Bosman ruling, to my understanding. If Camilo did negotiate an amount for the final option year then the case could be quite different. Then the Whitecaps would have a mutual agreement with Camilo which is legally enforceable. If the contract is legally enforceable then the Whitecaps still cannot force Camilo to play against his will, but can expect to get an award of damages instead.
The problems is that an award of damages can’t pull on a jersey and score goals like Camilo can.
When interviewed today, Bob Lenarduzzi made the following statement:
Once the season concluded, we had the coaching situation to deal with, and we also spoke with players, and Camilo was included in that process, in their exit meetings. We didn’t get into specifics at that time but obviously we were aware of the fact that he had a good year and it was something that we would take away and consider, but hadn’t got into any real details with him or his agent.
What is clear from Lenarduzzi’s statement is that Camilo expressed a wish to discuss terms with the Whitecaps for 2014 at his 2013 exit interview, and the Whitecaps stated an intention to do so… but then nothing happened. This is astonishing.
I would have thought the Whitecaps would have been talking to Camilo’s agent late in the 2013 season and making sure they had him sewn up for a three or four year contact as a designated player earning something like 4-6 million dollars over the term of the contract. Rather than doing this, the Whitecaps strategy seems to have been to delay negotiations and to hold the “option year” over Camilo’s head as a hard bargaining tactic. In doing so they have alienated Camilo and driven him away. While the Whitecaps are suggesting Camilo’s evil agent is steering the innocent striker astray in the Queretaro Caper, if I were Camilo I would be looking for an escape hatch too.
All of the huffing and puffing over honour and contracts is not going to help. Paying between $200-300,000 per year to a top striker is just not on in the world football market. The Whitecaps owners have gotten away with paying Camilo on the cheap for three years while getting fantastic returns from him, especially in 2013. Camilo has scored nearly one-third of the goals the Vancouver Whitecaps have scored since they joined the MLS, (if you factor in assists he has played a part in nearly 45% of total Whitecaps goals in MLS play). He also scored goals in the Canadian Championship. It was time to reward Camilo, not to alienate him.
I am not getting my hopes up that somehow a phone call to Camilo reminding him of his contract obligations is going to bring him back. To me this is pure fantasy. Our little Brazilian genius is gone for good. The Whitecaps have scored a dreadful own goal.
With rumours also circulating that Bob Bradley is looking to take Jay DeMerit away from the club, the off season looks to be turning into a nightmare.