By DAN KARELL
Camilo Sanvezzo’s bizarre transfer saga has finally come to an end.
The Vancouver Whitecaps made the news official on Friday, selling their leading goalscorer Camilo to Liga MX club Querétaro for a “multi-million dollar transfer fee,” with numerous reports claiming the final fee is $1.5 million. The Whitecaps will receive two-thirds of the total transfer fee to put towards their search for a new forward ahead of the 2014 MLS season.
“We have made the decision to part ways with Camilo Sanvezzo. In doing so, we were able to negotiate a club record transfer fee that will give us additional flexibility as we continue to build our club for the upcoming season and beyond,” said Whitecaps FC head coach Carl Robinson in a statement.
Back in early January, Camilo was seen on the training ground of Querétaro in their uniform without authorization from the Whitecaps, including a picture appearing on the club’s Twitter account of Camilo taken with the club’s jersey on while giving a “thumbs up” sign.
Despite MLS and the Whitecaps’ repeated insistence that Camilo was a Whitecaps player and that his option had been picked up, Camilo and his agent ended up forcing the reigning Golden Boot winner from MLS to Mexico.
According to a report in the Vancouver Sun, Whitecaps management including president Bob Lenarduzzi and head coach Carl Robinson traveled down to Mexico to meet with Camilo, though the Brazilian apparently refused to speak with anyone except Robinson.
“It was an interesting conversation,” Robinson told the Vancouver Sun. ““I made my point to him, where I stood. There were a few words at higher decibels than others … we agreed on certain things and disagreed on certain things.”
Robinson and Lenarduzzi haven’t minced words this month when asked about Camilo’s conduct, calling it “unprofessional” as well as criticizing Querétaro for trying to sign a player under contract with another club.
The crux of the problem stems from Camilo and his Brazilian-based agent Lucas Texeira’s belief that the player was actually a free agent. Attorney Mike Jarosi, who specializes in sports law, told the Vancouver Province that while FIFA opposes the use of unilateral options (like the one the Whitecaps used this offseason on Camilo), they’ve deferred to U.S. labor laws and the fact that the MLS players union agreed to it in their most recent collective bargaining agreement with the league.
Last season, Camilo completely obliterated his previous goal totals, scoring 22 goals and six assists in 32 games for the Whitecaps, though they barely fell short of making the MLS Cup playoffs. Camilo’s crazy scissor-kick goal on October 6 against the Portland Timbers was named the 2013 MLS Goal of the Year.
Now with Camilo gone, there are even more questions about the make-up and look of the Whitecaps squad next season. Veterans Jay DeMerit and Nigel Reo-Coker are still unsigned and forward Kenny Miller’s contract ends this summer. The Whitecaps open preseason on Jan. 25 with player’s entrance physicals and Jan. 26 is the first day of training.
What do you think of this news? Surprised the Whitecaps sold Camilo? Think it sets a dangerous precedent? Do you believe Camilo and his agent were right to declare the contract void?
Share your thoughts below.