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MLS denies blocking any Red Bulls transfer

In the wake of my report on the Red Bull’s quest to sign Mac Kandji and the league’s role in preventing the signing from happening, both MLS deputy commissioner Ivan Gazidis and Red Bulls sporting director Jeff Agoos have come out and denied that the league has prevented the Red Bulls from making any acquisitions.

"MLS works closely with the Red Bulls on player negotiations and, contrary to reports, has not blocked any move for any player involving the Red Bulls," Gazidis told SBI in an e-mail response.

Shortly after Gazidis’ denial came a denial from Agoos, who reached out to SBI to offer up his own denial.

"The league has worked closely with us and hasn’t blocked us from any transfer," Agoos said in a phone interview.

Neither Gazidis or Agoos would discuss Kandji specificially, citing Kandji’s status as a player under contract with the Atlanta Silverbacks of the USL.

My response? I stand by the original story and my sources.


  1. Is it possible that the source is within the Atlanta organization? RBNY could have stated that MLS blocked the $200K fee, and that info was passed on to SBI. RBNY could have bluffed for a lower fee, or the info could be technically correct, much like Bill Clinton’s famous “not-have-sex” comment.

  2. Ay Dios mio/ oi vey! LOL on the 3 stooges, great we keep our well needed humor, as an MLS fan…and hey, dont insult the cartels that way, haha…says the Italian Colombian lover!

  3. Speculation:

    1) MLS and NY were trying to do a good cop/bad cop thing.

    2) USL/Atlanta doesn’t sell, and leak story.

    3) Because of antitrust regulations, MLS has to deny plan, even though they were really just trying to help out NY. It therefore follows that NY would not rat out MLS.

    Assuming this story cannot be dug up, the trick would be to look into other transfers from USL to MLS. MLS had to of done this with other players.


  4. I think by now every MLS fan knows that the MLS standard opearting procedures manual is 50% dialouge from the wizard of oz and 50% “introduction to public relations.”

  5. MLS and Agoos are obviously denying it based on a technicality. Reading the inital report states the discussion of the transfer took place.

    The commish has egg on his face.

  6. “MLS aquired an anti-trust exemption for single entity that was later upheld in a court challenge. MLS severaly risks that exemption if it confirms that it in fact is refusing to pay market prices to other US soccer leagues with the intent on surpressing the market for those players and not setting precidents that it needs to pay for those players to keep USL from competeing in the US soccer marketplace.”

    Thanks, Sack. I was wondering if the restraint of trade doctrine might come into play, as a result of the grounds of the Fraser decision.

    I’d love to see more lawsuits. MLS is a freaking cartel.

  7. Ives is without a doubt right. As I said last night a source confirmed to me that Ives was right and beyond that and more importantly this is the sort of thing that MLS does: it’s believable for me without the source or even without Ives report. In the early days of the league when Logan was the commish and Gulati had the Gazidis role they did much of the same. Then it seemed Garber stopped meddling so much but now the last few years it’s back to the old big bag single entity MLS.

  8. Which just means Garber, Gazidis and the rest of their ‘crew’ are even bigger sleazeballs that most people ever imagined …

  9. GUYS:

    There is a very simple reason why MLS cannot and will not under any circumstances admit this.

    MLS aquired an anti-trust exemption for single entity that was later upheld in a court challenge. MLS severaly risks that exemption if it confirms that it in fact is refusing to pay market prices to other US soccer leagues with the intent on surpressing the market for those players and not setting precidents that it needs to pay for those players to keep USL from competeing in the US soccer marketplace.

    Also, with a CBA fight looming, the last thing MLS wants is to also have to fight a legal front against its player policies as well.

    So dont expect MLS to cave in and admit to this, in fact they will likely go to their graves denying this.

    They could allow the transfer in an attempt to try and offer proof they weren’t engaging in anti competitive actions, but that doesn’t mean and wouldn’t mean that Ives story was ever false.

  10. Ives,

    Great job w/ the story! This is the the type of journalism that will fuel change for the better with this League. This has not been a good year for MLSHQ on many fronts….SuperLiga bonuses (or lack thereof), discovery claims, and now this. I also think there is something fishy going on with expansion. (I think they already know where they want to go.)

    The fact that you and other journalists are finding these stories will help move this League forward in the right direction. And they (MLSHQ) should hope that it does.

    This year has been a MAJOR turn-off for me!!

    Thanks Ives. Keep it up!

  11. Keep up the good fight Ives. I put very little stock in public statements/denials from the Gazidis and Agoos. I doubt very much that MLS actually put much thought into denying the request, in gauging how pissed fans would be when they find out that this move was blocked by MLS. Agoos needs to grow a backbone and actually start doing his job.

  12. “It’s difficult to respond to blog entries where unknown sources are referenced – and of course blogs are driven by hits, not necessarily by the same standards as print media.”

    Right, Ivan. Print is clearly a higher standard. Just take the NY Times for instance; they would never plagiarize….oh…wait…

  13. That’s the kind of small-time behavior you expect from a bunch of yokels — Garber, Gazidis, Machnik, etc. — who have been in their jobs far longer than you would expect if they were competent. Because, if they were, someone else would have hired them away sometime in the last 10 years …

  14. Wow! Much ado about a measly $200K.

    Interest set of circumstances. Ives can’t reveal his sources without losing credibility even when his credibility has been publicly called into question by Mr. Deputy Comish.

    A very ill-advised statement from the Deputy Dog. He could have easily denied it without attaching Ives.

    Karma, she’s a bitch, no?

  15. Yes, other leagues are better to watch and are highly paid with great funding, but this is MY country and I want to watch it LIVE. Yes, it stinks compared to Europe but it was MINE to love!!! So can I A. Have my team back now please? and B. Quit messing with my adoptive team, so I at least enjoy that! Thanks in advance!!! Oh and btw, can you just pony up the cash to the salary cap…like yesterday? Thanks again, Still your loyal fan…in spite of it all!

  16. You have a typo Ives, MLS not *MILS works…*The fact that I know you care about that, and are one of the few whom corrects it, speaks volumes of your professionalism. As a Metro/Fusion/Redbull from day one, devastated by MLS when they ripped our heart out by removing our beloved Supporters Shield Fusion, whom had captured magic in a bottle!…its hard to give them the benefit of the doubt. They need to have better p.r. to the fans. Maybe not *blocked* but *stifled* due to lack of funds overall!

  17. I think the only way for the MLS to prove Ives is wrong is to sign Kanjii to a Red Bull contract without forcing RBNY to spend allocation. I’d forgive Ives for starting “rumors” if this happened. Keep up the good work on the site!

  18. BK they were two major things that disrupted the Feilhaber and Cory Gibbs stuff.

    NE couldn’t compete finaicially with the other club, so it isn’t like there wasn’t an effort to get Feilhaber.

    Cory Gibbs had two major disruptions as well. The change in the LA organization and Eddie Lewis’s committment to go back to the MLS.

  19. I’ve been a reporter for a long time and my instincts on bullshit artists are pretty good, and Ives isn’t a bullshit artist. You noticed Agoos said the league didn’t block the “transfer.” He didn’t say the league didn’t veto the payment of a “transfer fee.”

    This kind of weasely wording is very common in politics, but always justified as “technically accurate”, and increasingly common in plenty of other fields, including sports management.

  20. A modest proposal. How about the USL rename itelf the United Major Soccer League and go head to head with the Non-Major League Soccer League. In every com-petition, the current USL holds its own against all comers. Let the games begin.

  21. Honestly, I’ve been supporting MLS since its inception, but after all the strange policies that seem to pop up, I’m finding it harder to continue. It’s actually very painful for me because I really do want the league to do well and I support RBNY, but there is far too much secrecy in the way MLS handles its business.

    Perhaps MLS teams should jump ship and join the USL. I’m much more loyal to RBNY than MLS, and USL seems to have their business sorted out properly.

  22. I’ve heard from a source that Ives was correct and that MLS is simply trying to “spin” its way out of this. I only have one source on this and won’t report it but feel it is safe to put here in support of Ives.

  23. They don’t call us “The SBI Mafia” for no reason.

    I think Mr. Garber and Co. see us walking up to league offices with pitchforks and torches and the like in their nightmares.


  24. Ives,

    Really appreciate the hard work. Clearly there is SOMETHING to your story, or they wouldn’t take the time to deny it.

    Love the site, and keep it up.


  25. i think this is the type of thing we can expect while the wynalda/lalas/etc.. generation is replaced by american players and soccer professionals who are more trusted. i also think that mls needs leadership who are visionary enough to remove the training wheels. this is a bad precedent not so much for the two teams involved, and not so much because of the amount of risk involved from the league’s point of view. this is a bad precedent because it is reinforcing the idea that american soccer players cannot be rewarded for practicing their profession at the highest level and being rewarded appropriately in the US… in short, the mls is in danger of moving from being prudent to becoming a prude joke.

  26. BK, I wrote that Feilhaber was in talks with MLS and if he signed he would join the Revs. As for the Gibbs deal, you’re right, I wrote LA was signing him and it didn’t happen. Given the shake up in LA, it is clear that there was plenty of fluidity in everything going on there. You should also note that just three days after that Gibbs to LA story I was out in front with Lewis to LA and Gibbs to Colorado.

  27. I think you should stand by your sources, every journalist should (as long as they are reliable)… From what I’ve seen Ives, you have been quick to call out your own mistakes in the past. The fact that your standing by your sources here leads me to give you the benefit of the doubt, good stuff

  28. I don’t have any evidence, but this is what I believe:

    If the question is about Agoos keeping his job, I question who he is working for — the league or the team. Because this league is not helping NY this season. This season NY has had to take every hard knock to get this far. While it would be nice to add Kandji to the roster next season (if he’s on a free transfer at the end of the season, but not now), the reality is that we have 9 games in our play-off push left and we potentially have play-offs afterwards. If we are going to make the most of this opportunity, we could surely use this player now and not later.

    Maybe it would be more expedient for MLS to pick up this USL player when it doesn’t cost $200k, but the league has fostered competition and because of that competitiveness this year we need to do something for now. This scenario of paying good money for a USL player was inevitable as MLS got more competitive and the summer transfer window exists.

    At some point, the league just needs to make the system and it’s rules transparent, keep the salary cap, but let each team manage it’s own business (i.e., get rid of the single-entity structure).

  29. To be fair BK, Ives had the chance to say that his source was wrong. The fact that he’s sticking to his guns suggests that there’s more to this story than Gazidis is letting on. I wouldn’t roast Agoos over the coals, he has to stay mum if he wants to keep his job.

  30. As a guy who worked in the trenches of the paragraph mines for five years, bravo, Ives.

    ‘I stand by my story and my sources’ is absolutely music to my ears. Well done, well done.

    Now, on the story – holy crap, is MLS this mickey-mouse STILL? Jesus christ on an f’in cracker, that’s LooneyToons.

    These guys sign Beckham, then learn about transfer fees? Or not even?

    Jesus. It’s called Championship Manager – sorry. It’s called Football Manager (Worldwide Soccer Manager if you’re in the USA). Buy it and play it. You’ll learn all sorts of stuff about how the game is managed, y’know, worldwide.

  31. And I also just wanted to add that my support to you Ives. Because at the end of the day, all a journalist has is a reputation based on credibility. While the league has proven time after time that they will alter their unpublished rule book to better serve their perceived business needs at that very moment.

    No journalist is always right and certainly no one can predict what will happen the following day (in terms of Feilhaber’s transfer or Gibbs’ transfer), but very often in these types of confrontations it’s the corporate guys that end up being the liars.

    Rock on Ives, there is a reason why all of us are here, reading what you have to write.


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