PHILADELPHIA – Nearly two weeks after Vancouver Whitecaps star Camilo Sanvezzo made a surprise move to Mexican side Querétaro, Major League Soccer Commissioner Don Garber came down harshly on the reigning Golden Boot winner for apparently breaking his contract with the league.
Speaking at the MLS SuperDraft on Thursday, Garber said he was “very disappointed” with Sanvezzo’s actions after he appeared in a Querétaro jersey while still under contract with Vancouver through next season.
“I’m soccer guy for the past 15 years, but I’m also an American sports guy. When you sign a contract, you honor it,” Garber told reporters. “If I sign an employment contract, I honor it. And FIFA will honor it to protect our system. We just gotta manage through it.”
Added Garber: “I feel bad for the Whitecaps. I feel bad for [head coach Carl Robinson].”
The Whitecaps made it clear on Wednesday that the club is working an a solution to the situation, which appears unlikely to end with Camilo returning to Vancouver this season. He has been photographed training with Querétaro multiple times since arriving in Mexico earlier this month, and has not yet spoken publicly about the move.
Robinson told the media Wednesday that he traveled to Mexico and spoke with Camilo about the situation.
“I've made my points clear to him about where I stood as the head coach of this organization ... there were a few words that were at higher decibels than others, but I think it was important that that conversation needed to happen,” Robinson said.
“I was very disappointed and I told him,” Robinson added. “The way he acted has been unprofessional. I told him and he agreed. It's at a stage now where we need to try and do what is right for myself and my team moving forward into next year, and also the club.”
Garber said that a deal is in place for the Whitecaps to be compensated for the move.
“Ultimately there was a good result, with a high transfer fee,” Garber said. “[Vancouver] will get allocation money and they can rebuild their team with a new coach.”