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Rainbow FC dispute Cameroonian FA claims of illegal Oyongo transfer

A small club in Northwest Cameroon defends its name to Once a Metro.

Stew Milne-USA TODAY Sports

After he was traded to the Montreal Impact, it was reported that Ambroise Oyongo was not actually owned by the Red Bulls, and was ineligible to be traded. Soon, reports came out that Oyongo transferred to MLS from a club in Cameroon called Rainbow FC, but FECA FOOT (the Cameroonian Football Association) said Oyongo had signed an amateur contract not a professional one, meaning his transfer to the Red Bulls was invalid, and he could not be traded.

Once a Metro did some digging into Rainbow FC and could only find information about a subsidiary group called Rainbow Sports Investments, which is a sports marketing group that seems to facilitate the transfers of young Cameroonian talent to leagues abroad, including MLS. During the writing of the piece on RSI, I reached out to the group via their Facebook page, to no initial response.

A representative from Rainbow FC reached out to me via that Facebook page 10 days ago. Since our initial correspondence I have been trying to set up a time to conduct a phone interview, but haven't been able to coordinate it. We spoke once for a few minutes, but due to my inability to record the conversation I told the person on the other end of the line that we should talk soon.

Raymon De Vera, from Rainbow FC, told Once a Metro that many of the media allegations regarding the Oyongo situation were false, and the club will keep fighting with FECA FOOT as long as the body disputes Oyongo's status. Oyongo was registered as a professional player for Rainbow, but was transferred to the New York Red Bulls before playing a single match with the club.

De Vera said that Rainbow FC is a different entity than Rainbow Sports Investments, and RSI is not a third-party owner of Oyongo. For now, the stalemate between Oyongo, Cameroon, and MLS remains, although, like Ali Curtis and the Montreal Impact, De Vera believes the transfer is legal.

I have not yet been able to independently verify the validity of the message and pictures I received, or speak at length with the club about the Oyongo situation. Rainbow FC said they would be sending along documents regarding Oyongo's transfer, but without a second correspondence, they have never arrived. Here is the message sent to me, along with one of the documents promised in our initial phone call. This message below has not been modified by myself or the editors here at Once a Metro.

Permit me to start off by introducing myself as Raymon De Vera.. Vice President of Rainbow FC Bamenda. Rainbow FC has decided not to make any public statements regarding the Oyongo case as it has engaged an official procedure in order to clear any doubts surrounding the case.

That said-there has been a number of false statements put out by third parties for which Rainbow will like to make its position very clear.

Edgard Nuentsa who has granted a couple of interview regarding Rainbow FC has clearly misrepresented himself as he has no formal role with Rainbow Sports Investments or Rainbow FC. He is not a contractor, employee or associate. He has represented himself as an executive Vice President of RSI and this is clearly false. They has been a complaint filed with the courts and the Cameroon police for clear misrepresentation. The matter is being investigated.

Rainbow FC is a club registered with the Cameroon Football Associated and play in the Cameroon Second Division Regional League of the North West Region. The club is fully staffed and has its headquarters in Bamenda which is Cameroon's fourth largest urban area. By FIFA rule all clubs can register professional and amateur players. A professional player is someone who earns more from football than his expenses.There is nothing like an amateur club or professional clubs under FIFA law. This is a creation of the Cameroon FA. Rainbow FC as a club therefore has the right to sign amateur and professional players. The Cameroon FA's law on "amateur clubs" is clearly not legal. In the true sense of the word no club in Cameroon qualifies to be called professional. Clubs own no stadia, mega stores, training grounds, TV deals etc. Players are poorly paid and the FA's definition of amateur and professional in context is laughable at best and inconsistent with FIFA rules. Oyongo Bitolo signed a professional contract with Rainbow FC and was officially registered by the Cameroon FA with his ITC ( International Transfer Certificate) officially released to the US Soccer federation by the Cameroon football Association. Rainbow FC complied with every single rule of the Cameroon Football federation and Oyongo's transfer to Major League Soccer was rubber stamped by the Cameroon FA.

Now to answer your Questions: Rainbow FC is an independent entity from Rainbow Sports Investments. Rainbow FC is a football club and Rainbow Sports Investments is a holding company with interest in many other areas in sports including but not limited to consulting, marketing, finance, and content. Rainbow FC as any club has the right to scout and secure the rights to the best talent it could find. It approached Oyongo as a free agent and the player agreed to sign for the club following independent legal advise. The opportunity came from the MLS and Rainbow FC decided to transfer the player who was extremely keen on the move at the time.

Rainbow Sports Investments has NO contract with Oyongo and is NOT a third party owner to the rights of Oyongo or any other player.

Rainbow FC has been in contact with FECAFOOT regarding Oyongo and has made clear it will defend its position vigorously.

Do we see an end in sight? Yes. The player has an employment agreement with Major league Soccer which he has to respect and the ball is firmly in his court.

Below is the front of back of Oyongo's Player Registration Card for 2013-2014 that Once a Metro received, also through Facebook.

Front:

Oyongo Registration Card Front

Back:

Oyongo Registration Card Back

Once a Metro will continue to pursue this story.