The Ambroise Oyongo saga is still ongoing with reports from different sources coming in quickly over the last few days. Let's recap what we know so far.
January 9th: The New York Red Bulls announce that they secured Oyongo's "playing rights" on a permanent basis from Rainbow FC Bamenda.
January 27th: Oyongo, along with Eric Alexander and Allocation Money, is sent to the Montreal Impact. In return, the New York Red Bulls received Felipe Martins and the top spot in the Allocation Order.
January 28th: The Red Bulls, using the newly acquired top spot in the Allocation Order, sign Sacha Kljestan on a transfer from RSC Anderlecht.
February 5th: FECA FOOT (Cameroon FA) has stated that Oyongo was on a loan deal without an option to buy, and that Rainbow couldn't sell a players contract. Therefore, according to FECA FOOT, Oyongo is not tied to any team, not even Rainbow FC.
February 6th: In a mlssoccer.com article, Olivier Tremblay reports that the Impact claim Oyongo is under contract with MLS, and as per conditions of the trade, is their player. Since he had not reported to the team by this point (Cameroon's AFCON trip ended January 28th), he was being held in breach of contract. The article also states that the Red Bulls had secured Oyongo's contract, not his "playing rights".
February 7th: Camfoot.com reports that Oyongo's deal with New York (loan or otherwise) had an automatic renewal clause. It appears that both parties agreed to continuing on with the deal as written, although it would come out that Oyongo's agent feels he was misled about the Red Bulls' intentions for Oyongo.
February 8th: Mitchell Tierney, writing for Last Word on Sports, interviews Oyongo's agent, Nicolas Onissé. In the interview, Onissé says that the original loan contract between Rainbow FC & New York was never registered with FECA FOOT or Cameroon Soccer League, and wasn't brought to light until recently. In January, when the Red Bulls announced the "playing rights" being acquired, FECA FOOT supposedly didn't respond to a messages from MLS to confirm the transfer. Upon a second message from the league (presumably because of the trade) FECA FOOT finally looked at everything.
Onissé also claims, without proof, that the Red Bulls had at least an idea of the issue arising, and the trade was a way to distance the team from the situation.
While he admits that he doesn't have proof, Onissé thinks that Red Bulls may have known something was amiss when the Cameroonian Association didn't respond. They seemed very eager to retain Oyongo in December, but a month later had traded him to Montreal. He thinks part of that trade could have been distancing themselves from this issue.
For the time being, Onissé says he has to wait while the two sides (MLS & FECA FOOT) figure things out.
It's interesting to note that Montreal apparently determined that Oyongo was in breach of contract on February 3rd, two days before the initial report of a bad transfer.
Questions going forward:
- What are "playing rights"? Are they different than a player's contract? Is this just an extended loan deal?
- If FECA FOOT never approved a transfer, why did MLS/RBNY announce it?
- If Oyongo's contract is found to be invalid, what does this mean for the rest of the trade/purchase of Kljestan?
- Did the Red Bulls know that something was going to happen in regards to Oyongo's contract?