Ngwenya signing held up by ITC issue

Turkish club rejects potential Houston forward's release


Photo Credit: 
Mitchell Layton/Getty Images

HOUSTON — The Houston Dynamo’s signing of Joseph Ngwenya has
officially hit a snag.

The club confirmed Tuesday that its request for Ngwenya’s
International Transfer Certificate from Turkish club Antalyaspor and the
Turkish Soccer Federation has been rejected, as a result of a dispute between
Antalyaspor and Ngwenya.

“His former club in Turkey has rejected the ITC request at
this time,” Dynamo Chief Operating Officer Chris Canetti said.  “It’s fair to say there is a dispute
between the club and Joe from their past relationship.”

In the past, MLS has refused to allow its teams to risk using
players who do not have their ITC. If FIFA were to later rule against the league
regarding the ITC and that player made an appearance, FIFA could potentially
issue fines against the league or team.

As a result, Ngwenya will not be allowed to play until the
issue is resolved.

“He absolutely won’t take the field as a member of the
Houston Dynamo or any other MLS team without an ITC,” Canetti said. “The ITC
needs to be issued. Given the fact the club won’t issue it, our hope is that
FIFA will issue it after they review the circumstances. We believe Joe has the
right to continue his career and play for the Dynamo, and that his ITC should
be granted, and we just have to wait for FIFA’s ruling.”

Houston is not in unfamiliar territory. A different snag
occurred with defender Andrew Hainault last year, when Hainault believed he was
out of contract with Czech side SIAD Most and agreed to sign with the league prior to
the start of the 2009 season.

When the team and league requested his ITC, SIAD Most
believed it still had a valid contract with Hainault. MLS appealed to FIFA for a decision,
but in the interim an agreement was reached with SIAD Most that allowed
Hainault and the Dynamo to formally complete the transfer.

It took more than a month, however, before the matter was
finally resolved.

“We have gone through the appropriate channels with the
league, U.S. Soccer Federation, and FIFA to dispute the situation,” Canetti
said. “We are going to look to
them to provide a quick and reasonable resolution that will hopefully end up in
our and Joe’s favor.”

Dwain Capodice is a contributor to Questions
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