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Garber states support for NYC FC in wake of Lampard decision


Photo by Debby Wong/USA Today Sports



MLS Commissioner Don Garber has broken his silence regarding the upcoming absence of New York City FC’s Frank Lampard.

Garber told that he has total sympathy for the fans of NYC FC, who learned Wednesday that Lampard will miss the opening months of the MLS season. The commissioner also added that, despite the public outrage, he still has total confidence in the ownership group.

“I could understand why their fans are unhappy, and I do believe [NYCFC] will work hard to build back that trust,” Garber said. “They’ve started that process already. I sensed this was coming, and it didn’t surprise me when they ultimately made their decision. You’re dealing with a very unusual set of circumstances. Frank has become one of the most important players in Man City’s season, and he’s scored critical goals to have them tied for first place in the Premier League.”

“They were faced with a difficult decision,” added Garber. “I’m going to be supportive of all our ownership groups, making them aware of my point of view. But we need to work hard now to move forward and recognize that Frank will be joining this team in July along with other Designated Players, who throughout the history of the Designated Player program have almost always joined in July.

“If there was an error in judgment on this, it was not just announcing that he would come in July and figuring out how to manage the start of the season, no different than what happened with Robbie Keane or Thierry Henry or David Beckham.”

In addition, Garber reiterated his belief in the current ownership group by once again stating that City Football Group remain committed to the New York club despite the Lampard decision and its current public relations effect on the club.

“I think it’s important to say this: These guys are very committed to MLS and committed to New York,” Garber said. “They have made an unprecedented investment in MLS and New York City, and they are going to continue to do so.

“I don’t think it is a farm team for Man City,” Garber added. “With this decision, while I can understand people will try to think that, the level of investment that this ownership group is making with the club is massive, and it rivals some of the bigger clubs around the world. This kind of decision is not something in my view that in any way says this is a farm team for Man City. I don’t believe in all my dealings with them that they have led us to believe that’s true.”

Garber also confirmed the rumors of talks regarding Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard, who announced Friday that he is set for a move to the U.S. Garber said MLS is in discussions to bring Gerrard on board, but didn’t add anything more on the subject.


What do you make of Garber’s comments? How do you view NYC FC in the wake of the Lampard decision? What do you expect from Gerrard in MLS?

Share your thoughts below.


    • Dead right. These guys have done everything they can to keep NYRB well in the game. Plenty of opportunity here for Curtis to land some nice counterpunches.

    • At the state of the league round table, we heard univision’s jorge perez-navarro make this type of comparison between nyfc and chivas usa. But i don’t think mr. Navarro’s comparison is really quite accurate. In fact, i really don’t see the comparison at all.

    • It’s all about your perspective. Go in with low expectations and you’ll be pleasantly surprised more often than not.

      Ignorance is bliss.

  1. Sigh. The chicken littles are out in force. I mean, somebody here predicted that Red Bull NY will fold in 5 years. Yyyeaaaaah. A team with an SSS averaging 19K this year is going to fold.

    I love the predictions about MLS being the laughing stock of The International Soccer Community™. It’s cute to see ppl trot out the same critiques throughout the decadeS predicting imminent demise of the league, and yet the league just keeps growing, and growing.

  2. Craven Cottage is right in that this whole Lampard thing will not affect MLS overall growth. This will however hurt NYCFC in the short term and potentially in the long term if they don’t win. And it starts with the first game against Orlando City SC.

    You can’t tell me Orlando City isn’t rubbing their hands together with excitement at the chance to crush NYC and their uber rich backers. That first loss could set a really bad tone for this year while winning could help take away the sting of older brother snatching kid bros new toy away.

    • Agreed. Orlando doesnt have to wait too long. Although the first season match is vs NYC on 3/8 they are playing in a pre-season friendly in Charleston SC on 2/21.

  3. I am still perplexed as to why we haven’t heard a word out of Frank Lampard the last month about this. He is just as accountable as Manuel Pellegrini for this fiasco and embarrassment to MLS. I’d like to hear his explanation, although I suspect it will be similar to Garber’s, just politicking his way home.

    I almost feel bad for Jason Kreis and Claudio Reyna, since they didn’t really have any say in the matter. At the same time, they should have known what they were getting into when they signed on the dotted line.

    • Why would Pellegrini, Lampard, Kreis, Reyna or any of these guys feel “accountable” to MLS? MLS does not sign their paychecks (not even Lampard)…. All of these guys work for Abu Dhabi Sports Group, and like most sensible employees, they speak to the press about their company when they are authorized or asked to do so.

  4. “They have made an unprecedented investment in MLS…” The fans of NY are secondary to that fact. The owner is a billionaire 137 times over. He uses 100 million to wipe his arse roll it up into a nice spiffy logo with NYC on it and then call it a proper Football Club! Keep on living the dream rubes… I know that The Don is!

  5. People need to chill out. They will sign another dp and two more if cba allows. A 100 million dollar farm team?? Not a chance

    • This is rich, you do realize that MCFC spent more than that on a transfer fees for Sergio Aguero and Adebayor. It is essentially a farm team at worst and a accounting proxy at best.

  6. “I could understand why their fans are unhappy, and I do believe [NYCFC] will work hard to build back that trust,” Garber said. “They’ve started that process already.”

    What exactly are they doing? What have we missed?

    Have they removed the word City from their name?
    Have they gotten rid of the light blue shirts?
    Have they established a policy stopping any movement of players, coaches, and executives from one club to the other?

    Building a wall between these two clubs might – MIGHT – convince New Yorkers that they understand the problem

  7. This is a disaster of microscopic proportions. MLS will keep growing at exactly the same very healthy rate, NYCFC will be completely fine. Frank will show up eventually and it will be a distant memory almost immediately. Honestly, the

    All this is is an invitation for all the Chicken Littles to come out and use phrases like “black eye” and “slap in the face” etc…. Yawn.

      • The solitary most boring faux character on SBI? Easily “Don Garber”. Let it go already…. there is a reason nobody ever responds to your predictable, sleeping pill posts.

        Try another angle, pal… it just ain’t selling.

  8. Yes, I am a corporate shill compleyely devoid of dignity.

    Now please buy expensive tickets to watch people other than Frank Lampard player soccer in very derivative uniforms on a torn up baseball field while I guilt you into supporting this wretched endeavor forvthe so called good of the league.

  9. Garber is a corporate toad. After this statement on Lampard’s delay, he proves Klinsmann right in preferring European leagues as being more serious leagues, and better destinations for MLS elite talent.

    Imagine if Lampard had been dealt to a Dutch, or French, or Portuguese or Danish-league team. This extended stay with Man City would never fly.

    Garber’s clearly sucking up to the shady Emirati owner whose bottomless cash holds Garber in his thrall.

  10. I am sorry, but Garber’s explanation is not good enough. The fans of NYCFC deserve better than this. I have a feeling that this endeavor will fail miserably.

    • The fans of NYCFC shouldn’t be waiting on an explanation from the league commissioner to begin with. If they have a problem with the way the team’s personnel is being managed, seems they should take it up with the club— ultimately this was management’s decision, was it not? Or better yet, these fans should ask themselves why they have chosen to support this team in the first place. These sorts of situations have always been likely….

      Seems fairly ridiculous if “fans” of this team that hasn’t kicked a ball yet are already looking outside the organization to make sure their team is managed according to their liking. Maybe just find another team to support

      • ownership doesnt care about the NYCFC fans, its doesnt really care about NYCFC, its just a way they can sidestep FIFA Finical Fair Play rules

      • This argument is probably being overstated. For starters, there is only so much a team with 10% of the revenues of MCFC can do to conceal losses. Maybe you can park the occassional overpaid player there, but that doesn’t appear to be what is happening.

        Actually this behavior w Lampard is exactly what MCFC *shouldn’t* do if it is hoping to abuse FFP. Lampard would rate among City’s highest salaried players (i.e.the sort of player City should want to send to its non-UEFA properties in order to appear more profitable).

        Further, MCFC should want to transfer Lampard under a sale agreement (ideally at an enormous price) rather than a loan… this would enable MCFC to spend more on incoming transfers.

      • you should brush up on FFP and also have some knowledge of how accounting works. they can distribute the costs of say a scouting network for MCFC across 4 clubs instead of 1 to save millions as well as marketing costs, etc, it should come as no surpirse that after establishing Melbourne and NYCFC the costs on the accoutnign sheet for MCFC have decreased by about 50 million pounds.

      • I have a CFA, bozo, and I promise I know far more about the ins and outs of FFP than most anybody here. I have also looked at the MCFC financials (maybe you should too) and your generalized assessment of what is happening is largely groundless speculation based on what you’d like to believe. Your numbers are also very questionnable

        Listen… nothing you are saying is that original or complicated. Yes, everybody knows that City will allocate some of its administrative and wage costs to a holding company that services all of its soccer properties…. when you are done patting yourself on the back for realizing the obvious, ask yourself “what is wrong with this?” NYCFC will benefit from a scouting and development network that few teams globally can rival…. MCFC isn’t “saving” money, the money itself is still being spent, just allocated in a way that helps them avoid certain threshholds that incur penalties– Arsenal and Man U fans should be angry, not MLS fans.

        More basically, you do realize you don’t actually have to start a professional soccer team in order to have a US-based marketing company that you can use to dilute expenses right? If burying costs was ownership’s only goal, there are FAR cheaper and easier ways to do it than starting a foreign expansion team from scratch.

        The relevant topic here is player wages, and nobody has shown how MCFC is “screwing” NYCFC…. if anything, their incentive is to load them up with high-wage players.

  11. I agree this does not make NYCFC a farm team but Garber is so full of it. The contract situation is BS and if the contract info was so innocent, we would have been told the truth from day 1. Once again Garber is back tracking and revealing withheld information and playing it off as no big deal. Transparency when convenient.

    • The explanation doesn’t even make sense. MLS is a single entity for player contracts, so the contract (if it existed) is with MLS, not with City Football or whatever they are called. Either there is no contract or Garer decided not to enforce it, Garber hasn’t gotten the blame he deserves in this one.

      • Yes. I blame Garber for not letting a minor contract amendment for a 38 yo jersey salesmen disrupt a $100M (and growing) investment in the nation’s largest sports media market. Totally blame him. That jerk.

      • dude, the $100m was sent well before NYCFC knew they would get Lampard. Garber absolutely should own up to the fact that when NYCFC/CFG/MLS all announced NYCFC/MLS signed Lampard, they, in fact, did not. specifically, Reyna said Lampard had signed on for two years and there was no “loan” to City in question. in fact, at the time of his signing, the rumor was actually a loan to Melbourne like Villa. both Reyna and Lampard said those rumors were premature.

        gee i wonder why they said that? oh right, that’s because he had actually signed a short-term contract with MCFC with a clause that specifically stated he would then go to NYCFC. only a few weeks after his “signing”, MLS/NYCFC announced Lampard would “go on loan” to City for 6 months. that was a lie and Garber knew it.

        you may say that is insignificant but it’s not. he always talks about transparency but does this kind of thing instead of just telling it like it is from the start. this was all extremely calculated (it had to be) by MLS/NYCFC/MCFC/CFG but marketed and reported as something completely different than what it actually was.

        in the end Lampard will actually suit up for NYCFC, the storm will calm, etc., but for me, this is just one more slap in the face to MLS fans by Garber. always claiming to be more transparent yet we are always blindsided. we JUST got over the whole blind draw thing and now this? it’s just getting really old.

      • It is almost certainly the latter (i.e. Garber elected not to enforce the contract).

        However, you have to understand this is NOT that easy, and could actually draw into question the league’s delicate legal status as single-entity structure. If ownership were to challenge Garber in a court they would likely claim that they are the de facto contract owner, since they pay the overwhelming majority of his large DP salary. Historically, like it or not, American courts are very receptive to this line of reasoning in disputes over contracts– the person who contributes the most economic value to the contract usually gets their way, regardless of who has signed.

        While Garber might well prevail in the end, he might not…. and the entire sigle entity premise of the league and underlying strategy would be blown apart. Those are big chips to be risking over a 36 year old player whom the club is likely replace anyway.

        People need to understand that the DP system is NOT an ironclad, watertight set of legal rules. It works largely because nobody has had a reason to challenge it yet… DP deals exist because they align the interests of the player (who gets paid a larger salary), the club (who adds a player of international quality at their own discretion), and the league (who add starpower and enhance the brand). The moment they fail to do so, there will be big trouble.

  12. Formulaic, Mr. Garber
    Though he can’t really bite the hand that feeds

    The only suitable remedy is to get someone to buy out MCFC’s stake in the team, kill off the derivative kits (go with NYY pinstripes?!), and never allow another foreign club affiliation like this again in MLS

  13. I came to read the trolls comments and they ARe dissappointing. Come on trolls…its 2015..wake up.

    When you look at the US soccer lovers like me…we dont have this hang up about being like the rest of the world. In fact, I hate many aspects of “this is the way the rest of the world does it”
    This IS the way it is done in the rest of the world. Give up your players to the super club. There is need for any team in MLS to have to do this. IF NYC II has to, then that becomes the one thing that MLS has to fix….orelse they are just a bad version of the rest of the world.

    • What is your response to the fact MLS and NYCFC announced Lampard as a signed player for the league last summer and then featured him prominently on marketing efforts to entice people to buy tickets..whn in fact MLS never had him signed at all?

      Because that certainly IS NOT how its done in the rest of the world

  14. Some rational thoughts:

    1). Good for Frank Lampard. Initially, most MLS fans looked at his signing as a publicity stunt and wasted money on a guy who is rapidly approaching 37 years of age. Mere months later, he is causing controversy again by not joining the side soon enough. Well done, Lamps!

    2). NYCFC was always going to be the team that most MLS fans love to hate. They aligned with the NY Yankees, bought up personnel from other clubs and are now deceiving their own supporters. At this point, all they have to do is win big in their first year and they will instantly be the most hated club in MLS.

    3). Stop with the nonsense about “NYCFC is a farm team.” For one, the two sides are not in competitions against one another. MLS is nowhere near the top 5 Premiership clubs. The MCFC ownership have certainly found a loophole, but the relationship is mutually beneficial. No doubt, there will be a few young stars from the MCFC academy and reserve side who will play exciting football in MLS stadia.

    4). Internationally, any publicity for MLS is good publicity. Lampard has elevated his play and regardless of the outcome, that is truly the best scenario for MLS.

    • Phew, good thing a white knight came in with an opinion to save the day and set everybody straight!

      You can all go home now, nothing more to discuss here…

    • Regarding #4 – “Lampard has elevated his play and regardless of the outcome, that is truly the best scenario for MLS” – really?

      Sure he was able to “elevate” his play again in a new club situation at the age of 36, but for how long? He will come here, have a slump due to fatigue from the long, intense EPL season like many of the players who come here afterwards. Most bounce back and have a great next season. But by then he will be nearly 38. He may still be at a high level, but how much can he really give NYCFC at that point? Even David Beckham called it quits right after turning 38. I just don’t see him playing more than 1 full season here, if that.

    • Man City B, sorry, NYCFC has really done a lot of damage to MLS and Garber deserves some of the blame. Man City B had a shot at capturing a lot of interest in NYC, but NY doesn’t come out for minor league teams and by not either a) signing Lampard or b) signing him and letting Man City strong arm MLS Garber has admitted that MLS is minor league.

      Huge strategic mistake for Garber and Man City B.

      • Not sure that Garber deserves ANY blame here. No arguments about how this Lampard situation looks, but… pretend it’s 2012, you’re Don Garber, and the (filthy stinking oil rich) owners of a current BPL powerhouse drop $100M on your desk. They then present a reasonable plan for developing the most desirable market in the US.

        Me, I’m taking what they offer and sort it out later.

        And there’s plenty else to blame Garber for.

      • More to the point, wtf can Don Garber do about Lampard, his contribution to Man City, and the fact that no one saw this coming…?

  15. First of all, MLS needs nycfc because we all know red bull will never reach the global scene and New York level.
    Red bull will never be like galaxy or even sounders in MLS but nycfc can, and we all know it.
    The problem is, that garber knows red bull will die sooner than later and nycfc will take their place. How many years does red bull have left, I say 5 and will they get bought and rename, who knows.
    My point is, garber has bigger issues to deal with than the Lampard dilemma.
    For example once again, what’s next after red bull keeps showing signs of regression. Then you have the expansion conflict, should I hold back Miami and Los Angeles 2 and let Sacramento and Minnesota in, or give a team to Sacramento and Vegas, while Miami and Los Angeles 2 get stadium deals.
    At the end of the day, garber needs to give us a break and come out with the real thinking he is going through. We all know nycfc and bla bla bla, but look at the expansion picture, from
    Miami, Minnesota, Sacramento, and Vegas, who will get the last 2 spots.

    • I don’t think ManC owning NYCFC even allows for it to be seen seriously on the global level, as these last few days has shown us. NYCFC will always be overshadowed by the fact that they are owned by ManC. The best thing that could happen is that ManC gets bored of the team and they are eventually bought out by someone who is actually going to give a crap about MLS.

      • This is really just about Man City selling naming writes and whatever else it can back to them self so they write it down as a profit. This gets them around FFP regulations as it appears like they aren’t loosing as much as they are.

      • What is this “seen seriously on a global level” nonsense?…. if you guys are really waiting for the Eurosnobs of the world to put their monocles down and reach out with a “Ok Yanks, you’re one of us now!”, you are in for a very long wait, no matter what.

        Stop caring about what the rest of the world thinks! You’ll never win that battle. These people still think the NFL is a weird fringe sport even though it makes more money than all their precious Euro leagues combined.

  16. “…recognize that Frank will be joining this team in July…”

    Can someone find a quote from Garber or NYCFC management saying that he will be joining in January? I think there are plenty.

    This is how we lose credibility. Just. Like. This.

    The British commentators are right: Americans are not used to being pushed around & that is exactly what has happened, Citeh have told New York exactly how it’s going to be.

    There should be one very loud & unified response to this BS from the supports and all MLS fans. This is crap treatment. I feel for those who purchased tickets, kits, joined the supporters group, etc. This is monstrously greedy & deceitful behavior.

  17. Definitely not a farm team. If Lampard had played for NYCFC and then got called to Manchester, that would be a farm team. This is something else that doesn’t have a cognate in American sports — but they’re definitely lower on the food chain than MCFC.

    • I’m not sure what the big deal is if they are a “farm team” … so what? Did anybody actually expect them to be on level footing with a team with $400 million in revenues, who happen to be the defending EPL champions? Eating at the next space down the trough doesn’t seem so bad if you look at how many quality players are lurking on the fringes of the MCFC first team.

      MCFC have an absolutely enormous group of talented players on their books, and currenty they have serious restrictions on how many senior players they can even field (21 can be registered for the CL due to FFP penalties…. but even in the absence of these penalties the max is 25). So they have to do something with all these players, or else they will simply languish on the bench in the league while creating a significant drag on profitability, which will only hurt them more for the FFP income test. Gotta place these guys somewhere….

      Plenty of MLS teams would love to be in this position. NYCFC can still fill their non-DP roster with quality players from the open market (same as any other team) while also enjoying exclusive built-in access to a large pool of higher quality players who haven’t made the senior MCFC squad. Heck, even some DP-quality fringe players may join as non-DP’s just so they can be moved off of the books at Man Cit (assuming ownership is willing to get a bit “creative” financially)


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