Major League Soccer and the New York Red Bulls will submit the contractual dispute with midfielder Kaku to arbitration, the Red Bulls announced Wednesday.

The conflict has been dragging on for a few weeks now. One. In February, Saudi club Al-Taawoon announced it had contracted Kaku as a free agent. The Red Bulls replied that Kaku, whose full name is Alejandro Romero Gamarra, is still under contract with them and therefore not free to sign with another club.

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At one point, the MLS and Red Bulls asked the US Soccer Federation not to issue Kaku an International Transfer Certificate (ITC), which was required for a transfer to Al Taawoon. However, earlier this week Al-Taawun received a provisional TRC from FIFA for the Paraguayan international, allowing him to play the match against Al Ittihad on Thursday.

As the dispute is an internal matter of FIFA, the arbitration panel will involve the MLS and the Red Bulls on the one hand, and the MLS Players’ Association (MLSPA) and Kaku on the other. The conditions under which the referee will be appointed are included in the recently ratified collective agreement, the exact terms of which have not yet been made public.

The publication of the provisional ITC does not change the fact that there is a contract between Major League Soccer and Kaku, the Red Bulls informed ESPN in a statement. In response to the player’s apparent signing at Al Taawun, the MLS and New York Red Bulls have sought to resolve the dispute under Kaku’s MLS contract and will take all necessary steps to enforce their rights.

The MLSPA has refused to comment on the issue.

Kaku is stuck in the saga surrounding his contract with the New York Red Bull. Photos from USA Today

The controversy revolves around whether the MLS, and by extension the Red Bulls, exercised an option in Kaku’s contract. According to the MLS, they informed both Kaku and his agent, but Kaku’s representatives said they had not been informed of this option.

The actor also has the support of the MLSPA in this matter. In a letter from John Newman, MLSPA General Counsel, to Todd Durbin, MLSPA General Vice President of Competition and Player Relations, dated Jan. 18, a copy of which was obtained by ESPN, MLSPA claims that Kaku does not have a contract because the option was not exercised before Jan. 1. December 2020 has been announced.

The option for Kaku was announced on NY Red Bulls Athletic Director Dennis Hamlett’s 28th. February 2020 email sent to Scott Pearson, the email states Mr. Hamlett attached an email about the acquisition option and asked Mr. Pearson to share it with the player and let us know if you have any questions. This letter wasn’t copied to Kaku. Despite several requests to MLS to prove otherwise, the letter dated 28. February 2020 to Scott Pearson was the only way Kaku was informed of the 2021 option in his contract.

You reported that the notice of exercise of the option had been mailed and delivered to Kaku. It’s not. Despite several requests, the MTSO did not present any evidence to support its claim that Kaku had been notified. Mr. Pearson is not named in the agreement as Kaku’s agent, and MLS has provided no evidence that Mr. Pearson signed the form provided to MLS identifying him as Kaku’s agent pursuant to section 26.1 of the CBA.

The dispute involving Kaku has echoes of other similar disputes involving MLS clubs. In 2014, Vancouver Whitecaps striker Camilo Sanvezzo joined Liga MX Queretaro and even trained with the club, although he still has a contract with the Whitecaps. Eventually, the two teams agreed on a transfer fee of several million dollars.

In 2018, then Orlando City SC striker Syl Larin refused to appear at pre-season training and was eventually forced to leave for Turkish club Besiktas for a transfer fee of $2.3 million.

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