Frank Lampard finally signs MLS contract to play with NYCFC
Frank Lampard has finally signed his Major League Soccer contract to play for New York City FC.
NYCFC confirmed to The Associated Press on Saturday that this week Lampard signed a contract to start in July -- midway through the new team's first season in MLS.
The New York Times earlier reported that Lampard had signed, with sporting director Claudio Reyna telling the newspaper on Friday night, "He signed a standard MLS contract. Frank is very committed to NYCFC and is eager to join us as soon as possible to build a strong club."
Lampard's agent Steve Kutner also told talkSPORT radio that Lampard has signed his new deal.
The announcement followed the revelations this week of repeated misleading public statements from NYCFC and partner club Manchester City about Lampard's status.
NYCFC stated last July that Lampard signed a two-year contract to start in August 2014. Within two weeks, Manchester City said the former Chelsea midfielder was returning to the Premier League on "loan" until January.
But on Dec. 31, Man City extended Lampard's stay until June, and it emerged that Lampard was in fact on a permanent deal in England. Such was the confusion, the Premier League this week investigated his contract and prompted Man City to eventually confirm that Lampard was in fact only ever under contract with the English champions.
The Abu Dhabi-owned club's parent company, City Football Group, acknowledged on Friday that the announcement in July was an "error," and that Lampard had previously signed only a "commitment" to play for the New York team from January 2015 on a two-year contract.
City Football Group confirmed on Saturday that Lampard had now signed the same commercial terms that he committed to last year. CFG did not immediately say if Lampard's contract runs to December 2016 as originally intended, or for two years from July 1.
More than five months after NYCFC's erroneous announcement, MLS said on Saturday: "Frank Lampard has signed a contract for NYCFC."
City Football Group's conduct over Lampard has been criticised by American pundits and fans of NYCFC as well as media in England.
"We understand fans' disappointment," Reyna told MLSsoccer.com. "However, it's also exciting to see the level he's playing at. He's playing in the Premier League, on the reigning Premier League champions, in the Champions League and he's still coming, so we're really excited to have him."
Describing the talks he had with Ferran Soriano, chief executive of both City and New York, after leaving Chelsea, Lampard said: "It was 100 percent New York. I had sat down with Ferran and it was all about New York. There was no mention of Man City. If they had wanted to speak to me on behalf of Man City, with New York in the pipeline beyond that, they could have done that, because I was a free agent, but that was never the question at all.''
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.