Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Conor Doyle & Charles Eloundou

Last week Derby County's American striker Conor Doyle was given to DC United on loan through a lottery.  On its own, no big deal.  The catch though is that he had been training with the Rapids for the last few weeks due to Tim Hinchey's connections at Derby County (He was head of Marketing there before coming to Colorado) and possibly Pareja's contacts with Doyle as Conor was a youth player in Dallas when Pareja was running FC Dallas' youth program.  Colorado had arrange the training and did the work to get him in MLS through a loan, only to be told they couldn't sign him and he'd have to go through the MLS lottery process since he's a former U.S. youth international, a lottery process Colorado couldn't participate in due to their winning of the Charles Eloundou lottery before the season.

Meanwhile on the Charles Eloundou front there's been no news.  Well that's not entirely true.  A month or so ago Cameroon's FA (FECAFOOT) was put on suspension by FIFA due to government interference in their recent elections.  First they re-elected their current head, who was in jail on charges of mismanaging and embezzling from the state cotton corporation.  He also founded and runs Coton Sport, Eloundou's current club.  This week FIFA dropped the suspension as an independent group have taken over control of FECAFOOT working towards new elections next spring.  With that out of the way maybe FIFA will get around to making a decision on the protest the Rapids asked USSF to file over Eloundou.

So to summarize at this point:

1. MLS signs (presumably legally and with correct contracts) Eloundou
2. MLS awards Eloundou to Colorado in lottery
3. Eloundou doesn't show up due to corruption in the Cameroonian FA
4. Rapids do (apparently) all the work to get Eloundou here, so far unsuccessfully, while MLS does nothing
5. Rapids do the work to get Conor Doyle here due to still needing striker depth with the absence of Eloundou and uses their contacts at Derby County (and possibly between former Dallas soccer connections in Pareja and Doyle) to do it
6. MLS says Rapids can't have Doyle because he has to go in a lottery which Rapids can't participate in due to Eloundou

So the Rapids have done the work to get two young strikers into MLS, and currently have neither one on their team.  While everything has followed the MLS rules, I don't see how anyone could consider it a just result.

The league's history is littered with machinations and rule changes to get players to specific teams.  Personally I think the Rapids were given a wink and a nod by someone in MLS HQ that MLS would "work it out" when it came to Doyle, only for the league to decide to follow the rules on this one when push came to shove.  Doyle seems to have a similar feeling:
Did you expect to end up with the Rapids?“I don’t know. I was given a lot of mixed signals. I was told I would. And then they were like, ‘We have to go through this [MLS process].’ And then I was told I would still [end up with Colorado]. Then I actually signed the papers [with MLS] and they were like, ‘Well, there are three teams in the lottery, so you are not going to end up here.’ ”
I'm generally not a fan of MLS's flexible rules so I'm not too upset that the Rapids didn't just get Doyle.  I think a fair result would have been for the league and Rapids to give up on Eloundou and give the Rapids Doyle in his place as a way of making up for MLS's screw-up in signing somebody they apparently couldn't deliver.  The second option, assuming the they still have hope that they'll get Eloundou, would have been for MLS (not the Rapids) to make a statement on the status of the case and how they managed to sign a player and give him to a team without being able to actually get that player to show up, thus costing that team a chance at other players later in the season.

From my point of view it seems like MLS has signed a player, taken away the Rapids lottery spot, and then told the Rapids "He's all yours if you can get him to show up, good luck with that, no returns."  Then they took the work that the Rapids did on Doyle and said "Thanks, he's DC's now, but we appreciate the work."  time for MLS to take some of that money and single-entity power and get some work done for their teams, instead of the other way around.

No comments: