Thursday, April 4, 2013

The Strange Story Of Charles Eloundou

Many weeks ago you might remember that the Rapids won a lottery for the rights of Charles Eloundou, a 18-year old Cameroonian striker.  So far Eloundou has been unable to join the team in Colorado due to "administrative issues".  Today a couple of articles were posted detailing some of these issues.  First Chris Bianchi of posted an article discussing things from the Rapids point of view.  It doesn't have much detail as to what the problems are, but the Rapids feel MLS has all the contracts they need to bring Eloundou over and they are enlisting FIFA's help to get the process moving.  You might remember last season when the Argentine FA held up Rivero's paperwork and FIFA had to step in to clear him.  There's also clarification that Eloundou's signing is now a full signing, not a loan.  Bianchi later tweeted some clarification as to one of the major hold-ups
Cameroon FA tops the list. Clubs want more money.
This seems to match what was revealed in the second article found today but posted last week. has dug into things from the Cameroonian end and they appear to be very interesting.  There's a couple of caveats here though.  I have no idea of the reputation of, I don't know if its the equivalent of NPR or the News of the World.  Secondly the article is in French, which I don't read, and I'm relying on Google Translate to interpret for me.  With those advisories in place lets take a look.

Th article states that the Cameroonian FA (FECAFOOT) is pressuring Eloundou to break the contract with MLS and stay in Cameroon by joining Coton Sport FC in Garoua.  The FA has threatened him with being left out of any National Team call-ups and have bribed his family members to convince him to stay.  Reportedly the head of the FA has even called his mother to try to pressure Eloundou, but his mother appears to say Eloundou is ready to fight to pursue his dream of playing in the U.S.  It appears that MLS took advantage of the fact that he was signed as a youth player until he turned 18 and there was a provision in his contract that allowed him to leave if he got a full professional contract offer.  The Cameroonian FA now wants to keep this talent at home, probably thinking of the transfer fees they can gain from a European club if he stays, while MLS signed him on a free transfer due to the age issue.  Reportedly MLS signed him in December, and Charles' 18th birthday (the earliest a player can be signed to a full contract by a team outside his home country) was Dec. 4th so MLS did their research and made their move as soon as they could.

MLS may be behind the curve in on-field talent, but they're second to none on the business side.  I'm sure that MLS crossed the t's and dotted the i's on their contract offer, just as they did with Martin Rivero last year.  Assuming that nothing was missed I would assume that FIFA would come in like they did with Rivero and officially transfer Eloundou's rights to MLS.  However this is FIFA so the right money in the right place could change the expected result.  The Denver Post said they'll have more about this tomorrow, we'll see if its anything more than what says.

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