Frank Lampard’s relationship with New York City FC is now a farce.
What we know:
It is true many Americans do not care about Major League Soccer. This is OK.
It is also true that the many Americans that do care about MLS do not care about New York City Football Club, a new team which will join MLS for its 2015 season. This, too, is fine.
Many people do not care for New York City FC because it is something of a joint venture between the Emrati owners of Manchester City FC in England and the New York Yankees of Major League Baseball.
In other words, if you are a New Yorker who is a fan of the Mets and Manchester United, then why would you support an organization that is counter to your beliefs, values, culture, and family history?
And all of that is fine.
Many people also do not care for NYCFC because they just don’t care. Which is normal.
But now we know that people who should care for NYCFC will care less for the new yeam because of a non-player called Frank Lampard.
Here’s Frank, below. In New York.
What we do know is that in 2014, New York City FC and Major League Soccer announced that Lampard, a former Chelsea player in England’s Premier League, would be joining the new team as a Designated Player for its first season. And because the MLS season begins early in the year, Lampard would train and play with Manchester City, effectively the parent club of NYCFC.
That is reasonable.
NYCFC fans, excited by the signing of Lampard, a hero for Chelsea fans, rushed to buy tickets for the inaugural season. NYCFC also placed merchandise with Lampard’s image and name on it for sale (this is important as ownership of a player’s image rights are always considered part of a lucrative playing contract).
Lampard made appearances in New York City trumpeting his new team who he would be playing for in 2015.
But it turns out that Lampard had NEVER signed for New York City and has no contract with the team.
A statement from the Premier League reads:
“Frank Lampard is registered as a Manchester City player until the end of the 2014/15 season. 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 then, what was all that New York City business actually about?
What did New York City FC and what did the “mothership” (to quote Alexi Lalas) of MLS know about the Lampard “deal”?