Talks of Lampard missing the start of the new season have been ongoing for months and the fact that it has now become a reality does not actually come as much of a shock. A major disappointment, but not a shock.
What is shocking however, is that he was never actually signed by New York City FC or Major League Soccer. That is because NYCFC didn’t actually exist when he agreed to join the club last summer and so his contract was actually signed with Manchester City in the first place, as BBC Sport’s David Ornstein revealed last night.
“Lampard ‘signed’ for New York City FC in July but with the new MLS season not starting until March, he joined Manchester City – who part-own New York City – until January. Crucially, this was not a loan deal but a short-term contract signed as a free agent.
“It is understood the contract was for the entire season, with a break clause that was agreed would be activated at midnight on 31 December.
“City needed that break clause removed if Lampard was to remain with them, which happened on Wednesday.”
New York City FC supporters’ group, The Third Rail, rightly voiced their anger at the situation and publicly denounced the decision in a statement on their website.
“On behalf of the Third Rail, we would like to publicly denounce City Football Group’s and Frank Lampard’s decision to extend his loan to Manchester City until the end of the Premier League season.
“Many fans, including our members, decided to support the team, committed to season tickets, and bought merchandise under the impression that Frank Lampard would be playing for New York City Football Club, not Manchester City.
“Many of those fans are rightly outraged by this decision, and we support any course of action they take to voice their discontent over this decision.”
It’s a major setback for Major League Soccer, but Lampard is still expected to join up with New York City before the summer.
A club statement released by New York City FC suggests that Lampard could join before the end of the Premier League season in May, and Manchester City’s involvement in the UEFA Champions League will largely affect his status with the English champions.
The Club can confirm that he [Lampard] will not be joining the New York City FC’s squad for the beginning of the MLS 2015 season,” the statement read.
“His preparations for the forthcoming MLS campaign will see him contribute to Manchester City FC in all competitions of the ongoing season.
“His exact starting date with New York City FC will be confirmed as the EPL and MLS seasons unfold.
“All parties remain in ongoing dialogue to create the best outcome for all.”
The situation is one that has angered many. Manchester City have shown a lack of respect for MLS and NYCFC by keeping Lampard and it will now be important that the expansion franchise bring in another big name to keep supporters on their side ahead of their inaugural campaign.
What do you make of Frank Lampard’s situation?