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Impact suspend Ambroise Oyongo over contract dispute

Ambroise Oyongo New York Red Bulls 5

Photo by Jim O’Connor/USA Today Sports


The Montreal Impact have suspended Cameroonian defender Ambroise Oyongo without pay as a dispute over his contract continues.

Traded to the Impact from the New York Red Bulls late last month, Oyongo has yet to report to Montreal’s preseason camp after competing in the Africa Cup of Nations with Cameroon. His representatives and the Cameroon Football Federation have since said that Oyongo’s contract with MLS and the Impact is void because of his former club’s amateur status.

Impact technical director Adam Braz told, however, that the 23-year-old Oyongo is rightfully one of their players.

“He’s clearly under contract with MLS and, subsequent to the trade, he’s our player,” said Braz. “On our end, we’re calm, and it’s clear he’s in breach of contract. He’s suspended without pay until he arrives for training camp, and now, we’ve been in touch closely with the league, and they’re taking matters to FIFA and to the Cameroonian Federation.”

Braz added that he is confident Oyongo will report as a Montreal player when all is said and done.

How do you see this ending? Will Oyongo even suit up for the Impact this season? Liking the Red Bulls’ side of the trade more and more?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. I wonder if he even knows he’s been suspended withouy pay and for 36k I wonder if he even cares.
    This situation reminds me of the slave workers in Qatar.

  2. Hope this situation turns out in Oyongo’s favor. How would you like it if you made 35k, were traded to another city without your consent and told if you don’t agree you cant work anywhere. Sounds like Human Trafficking.

  3. I personally hope this situation goes to a higher level for review: FIFA, court or whatever. That would require that the original Red Bull contract to be exposed as part of the record, therefore eliminating the “he said, they said” part of the argument. Was there a clearly understood rights option clause with the Cameroon club? Or is the player trapped by some arcane MLS rule, like “discovery” that awards players rights arbitrarily? It looks like the player was placed under contract by a third party and is basically caught in a nutcracker. Those kind of deals are always problematic. An official hearing would shine some light on the issue. Public hand wringing in the media never does.

  4. By the way how do you suspend a player that has not returned and does not want to come back.
    And for those that believe oyongo is wrong keep in mind that He essentially said no to a contract that pays 36k yearly or less than 400 a week. If Tim Cahill can say no to his 3.5 million contract, I’m sure oyongo can say” nope not a slave can’t just send me to another country and pay me less money”. Yep Canadians pay more taxes thus he would be making less. People wake up this league has issues. How do you pay starting players 36k and say you will be a great league. Come on! Pay Garber and other MLS executives the 36k and see how quick the game changes.

    • MLS players are chronically under paid. I am a season ticket holder, but would support a strike if MLS refuses at least a moderate pay increase. That being said, the kid signed a contract. He chose to play here. He wasn’t forced.

      • Fortunately for under paid Red Bulls players they don’t play in NY. Most could probably find a pretty affordable apartment in Newark. Hell, it might even be walking distance. Montreal on the other hand . . .

  5. “Braz added that he is confident Oyongo will report as a Montreal player when all is said and done.”

    Some people will say anything to save face. Meanwhile it is obvious to everyone else that Oyongo doesn’t want anything to do with Saputos minor league team.

    • What else do you expect him to say, I suspect that if he doesn’t report one of two things will happen.

      1 MLs will force red bulls to compensate the impact for the player since he was part of a trade package.
      2 MLS will directly compensate the impact with Garber bucks.

      If this happens the kid can also kiss any chance of playing in any other league in the world good bye since MLS holds his ITC.

      • The devil’s in the details, If he received direct compensation for a contract he signed, he may be considered a professional. Amateurs, however, can and are, allowed to receive compensation; for room and board, education and travel expenses and sometimes even a small stipend. Perhaps the amount Oyongo received was such a small amount that the Cameroonians really though it was amateur pay. When you consider the the MLS salary cap, how small some players salaries are, as compared to European salaries, that they may well have thought that such a small amount of compensation was really amateur compensation. If you think that is far-fetched, try living in New York City for less than 30K a year.

        That being said, because of his recent run of good play, there is a financial incentive to break his contract in exchange for a higher one elsewhere and someone may see an opportunity in this.

        If indeed the contract is valid and through an administrative decision or a judicial one, no team may sign him until Montreal formerly release him.He could find himself in legal limbo like Ben-Arfa when they founf his contract was invalid.

  6. It seems clear that neither Oyongo nor his agent understood his terms of employment. He has a contract with MLS (as do all players) and was assigned to the Red Bulls. Now he is assigned to Montreal. That is what he signed up for. I suppose he can request a transfer. There are a few windows still open.

  7. “His representatives and the Cameroon Football Federation have since said that Oyongo’s contract with MLS and the Impact is void because of his former club’s amateur status.”

    What does that even mean?

    • It means that as an amateur he is not allowed to make an income through soccer until he leaves Rainbow FC(The amateur club he was loaned to NYRB from in Cameroon). In MLS there is obviously a minimum wage that needs to paid to a player via the CBA. The loan agreement must have allowed for that to be met in some shape or form. The problem here, though, is that NYRB/MLS supposedly exercised their option to buy Oyongo from Rainbow FC which would change his status to professional, thus allowing the Red Bulls to do as they wish(trade to Montreal) with him. However, Rainbow FC is claiming that the Red Bulls never purchased his rights which is where the hang up is.


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