Camilo’s Queretaro Caper complete as Whitecaps score dreadful own goal

January 6, 2014 at 10:26 pm | Posted in Vancouver Whitecaps, Whitecaps season 2014 | 8 Comments
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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.

About to score one of the thirty-nine

About to score one of the thirty-nine

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.   

"God, help me get away from the Whitecaps!"

“God, help me get away from the Whitecaps!”

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.  



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  1. This the first time I read someone finally saying that Camilo’s salary was inappropriate for his performance and that this is the real issue here. In fact, the MLS principle of allowing only one player in a squad to be paid decently is preventing MLS to compete with the leagues of Europe, and I do not see why some of the younger players in a team like our WCaps would want to ignore their economic future in a risky job at the incredibly low salaries in the order of 50K that do not allow them saving anything for the future.

  2. Well written and I concur! !.Also hans look over at facebook, eightysixforever ALOT of people are echoing the same thing regarding camilo salary.

  3. Good article dealing more with the facts of the issue rather than the knickers in a twist reactions.

  4. You usually write very well thought out article but you have gone off the deep end. You state “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.” This is a total misrepresentation that borders on the fantasy. The Whitecaps exercised the option year of Camilio’s contract. That means that his contract is extended another year “as is”, same term as the last 2 years. There is NO negotiation needed. Camillo signed the contract knowing that clause was in it. As the Caps FO said “A contract is a contract.” There was no delaying of negotiations, and there was no hard bargaining tactic, because there were no negotiations needed. Camilo might have wanted negotiations, but wanting something is not the same as needing something.

    Yes Camilo was underpaid for last year but when the Whitecaps exercised his option and in the exit meetings Camilo was told that the Whitecaps would be open to renegotiating his contract. The Whitecaps did not need to do this but they were being fair with him by offering him the opportunity to renegotiate.

    So why didn’t the Whitecaps start negotiations right away? As Bobby Lenarduzzi said the coach has ultimate control over all of the decisions regarding players. How could the FO negotiate with the player until they had a coach in place? It is up to the coach to decide which players he wants to keep and which players he wants to get rid of. In addition to this if Camilo really wanted to renegotiate his contract early (before they got a coach in place) then why wasn’t he talking about it? Why didn’t he go on twitter saying “Everyone at the whitecaps is ignoring me”? Which brings me to another point: why couldn’t Camilo wait? Every other Whitecap that is negotiating their contract can wait until January. Why not Camilo?

    If you look at the actual facts of the matter the Whitecaps front office are 100% blameless and Camilo and his agent must shoulder ALL of the blame for how this has turned out.

    • I refuse to accept that Camilo committed to being paid the same as 2013. If the Whitecaps and MLS think they can get away with treating a player of Camilo’s quality so poorly they richly deserve the lesson they are being taught right now.

      • I don’t double for a second that Camilio wanted more money but having an “option year” doesn’t mean he is a free agent. Camilo had the option to renegotiate, he chose not to.I just really cannot wrap my head around your idea that Camilo was treated poorly. He was told that they were prepared to renegotiate his contract, but, he didn’t take them up on the offer. if you were in the front office how would you’ve done it differently? You have a player that is in his option year that everyone knows wants more money, you offer to negotiate with him and then he walks away from the table (or he refuses to wait to come to the table, depending on which version of the story you’d like to believe). I just don’t see how there were any other options for the front office on how to deal with this and yet still maintain that a yet to be named coach would have full autonomy over his players.

  5. I have explained what my approach would be above. This notion that they had to wait for the new coach is nonsense. The new coach is Carl Robinson who worked very closely with Camilo. They both liked each other. Camilo was a prime asset the Whitecaps should have taken steps to protect no matter who the coach was. I don’t imagine any new coach would not want the top scorer in the league on his team. They already knew Camilo was not happy with the money he was getting. Camilo achieved great things from the club, tried to negotiate a new deal and the Caps said “later, son”. If they had signed Camilo to a new multi year contract and sold him in the last year they would stand to make a lot more money than they are going to get from Queretaro now. The Whitecaps will lose millions of dollars because they were too cheap to pay the man what he was worth in the first place. Its called “penny wise, pound foolish”.

    • 1) “Camilo achieved great things from the club, tried to negotiate a new deal…” Uummm, no he did not. As a matter of fact the only statements that I have heard were that Camilo didn’t mention anything about renegotiating and it was Bobby that offered to renegotiate.

      2) “If they had signed Camilo to a new multi year contract and sold him in the last year” Which is exactly what this year is – it is the last year of his contract. His contract was NOT finished. Why do you think that Queretaro is offering the Whitecaps a reported 3-3.5 million for Camillo? Because he is still under contract to the Whitecaps, that’s why.

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