Vancouver Whitecaps president Bob Lenarduzzi stands firm on Camilo Sanvezzo: "He is our player"

With the twists and turns of the Camilo Sanvezzo-Vancouver Whitecaps-Querétaro FC saga raging on, Whitecaps president Bob Lenarduzzi hopes one message puts the topic to rest once and for all:

"He is our player."

Lenarduzzi held an impromptu meeting with reporters at the team headquarters Monday afternoon to insist, once more, that the 2013 MLS Golden Boot winner is indeed under contract with the club.

"What we wanted to do first and foremost is make sure everyone is aware of the fact that he is contracted to the Whitecaps," he said.

The gathering was sparked by a Monday morning tweet showing the Whitecaps star striker in a Querétaro kit and welcoming him, along with Diego Guastavino, another apparent newcomer, to the club.

An obviously frustrated Lenarduzzi said he and the 'Caps were taken aback by the tweet, one more odd addition to the story that emerged last week linking the dynamic Brazilian to the Liga MX club, calling it “unacceptable and inappropriate.”

Lenarduzzi said there was not much more Vancouver could have done to make it clear to everyone involved that Camilo is the property of the Whitecaps.

“We’re frustrated with the fact that it’s actually gotten to this stage,” Lenarduzzi said.

It all started with a Jan. 2 report out of Mexico that Camilo was to sign with Querétaro, leading the Whitecaps to respond by saying he was still under contract for the 2014 season. Then later in the week, Querétaro president Adolfo Ríos said he was led to believe by Camilo’s agent that he was out of contract and available for transfer.

That led to Monday’s fiasco.

“It’s a situation that is a very frustrating one because none of it really was necessary,” Lenarduzzi said. “All the information was provided and taking that step to actually be in another club’s jersey, I can tell you when I saw it, it was like a kick in the midsection.”

Lenarduzzi said the Whitecaps and MLS have sent documentation to Querétaro on Monday proving Camilo’s contract situation. He said new head coach Carl Robinson spoke with Camilo and hopes the situation is now resolved.

“From where I stand right now, I really believe that the situation has been misrepresented to Camilo,” Lenarduzzi said. “I think he’s put a lot of faith in an agent and has gone with the agent’s advice and has got himself in a situation where it doesn’t look good on him.”

He said he’s assuming Querétaro will “back off” with proof of Camilo’s contract status in hand. Lenarduzzi said that even if it had gotten to the point where Camilo signed a contract with Querétaro, the Mexican Football Federation would disallow it due to international transfer rules.

“The process in world football is pretty straightforward,” he said. “I’m not sure there’s anything else we can do in this situation.”

Lenarduzzi said the hope that, after the “dust has settled,” the club can determine what issues with Camilo, if any, need to be addressed before moving forward. He said the club has been open to reworking contracts under special circumstances and that Camilo’s 22 goals during the 2013 season certainly qualify as such.

Now, however, he said it’s become an issue of getting the player into preseason camp and going from there. He said it’s too early to tell if any bridges have been burned.

“We need to get to a point where cooler heads prevail,” he said. “At that point we can decide our plan of attack from there.”


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