New York City FC is becoming an embarrassment to Major League Soccer and themselves. Six months on after announcing to the world that they had signed former Chelsea star to a two-year contact we hear today that Lampard has never signed for NYC FC. That his contract was with City Football Group.
Lampard’s current stint with Manchester City was initially described as a loan deal from the new MLS franchise he appeared to join after he left Chelsea last summer, but it emerged on Thursday that he had not put pen to paper on any agreement with the New York club.
“Frank Lampard is registered as a Manchester City player until the end of the 2014-15 season,” the statement read. “The Premier League has sought and received assurances from Manchester City that there is no agreement in place between the Club or City Football Group with New York City FC relating to the player.”
So what happened. MLS deputy commissioner Mark Abbott told ESPN FC today that:.\
“[Lampard] has a contract with Manchester City to play in the Premier League,” said Abbott. “He has an agreement with the City Football Group that he will come to play in MLS after the Manchester City contract is done, and he will do that pursuant to an MLS contract.”
Abbott emphasised that what the Premier League said in its statement is that there is no agreement between Manchester City and NYCFC that can be characterised as a loan or anything else.
Abbott added that Lampard’s initial deal was always with City Football Group (rather than an individual club) to play for both clubs, and the Manchester City half of it was simply extended. What was confusing to fans and media was that the New York City aspect of the deal was announced first, as opposed to both halves being revealed simultaneously.
So why did NYC FC, City and MLS insist for six months that it was a loan if it wasn’t? And when will Lampard finally arrive in New York.
The first part is important to answer as I don’t know why MLS went along with this charade. The league knew on August 1 that Lampard had not signed a MLS contract. So why pretend that he did?
As for when Lamps will arrive in New York? Well according to talkSPORT radio’s Jason Cundy who spoke to Lampard’s agent Steve Kutner:
“Steve assures me that Frank has signed a contract with New York City that will start on July 1,” said Cundy, as he read quotes from his conversation with Cutner.
“He also assures me that Frank will not be at Manchester City next season. He will go to America on July 1 and will then be a player for New York City.”
So July 1 it is. That is unless City decide that they cannot do without Lampard next season either, and if that happens we might never see the former Chelsea star in Major League Soccer.