On Monday evening, Newell's Old Boys issued a statement on their website in response to the situation surrounding Maximiliano Urruti. The statement is the first formal response from the club since Urruti packed up his things and left last week Thursday. With the player reportedly set to arrive in Toronto on Tuesday the time of the statement does not come as a surprise.
The statement from the club makes it quite clear that Urruti is still under contract with the club and currently has a year remaining on that deal. They state that by being absent from training in recent days Urruti is in breach of that contract. If the player does not report to training the club claims they will exercise the appropriate legal actions to protect their interest in the player.
En los últimos días, se han difundido distintas versiones respecto de los casos de Santiago Vergini y Maximiliano Urruti, en relación a sus vínculos con el Club Atlético Newell's Old Boys.
En ese sentido, el Club considera oportuno informar que Santiago Vergini decidió no continuar jugando en Newell's por motivos estrictamente personales. La Comisión Directiva formalizó las propuestas correspondientes para adquirir los derechos económicos del jugador, ejerciendo la opción de compra en tiempo y forma, contando con los recursos para tal fin. Es importante recordar que, cuando se decidió la renovación del préstamo de Vergini antes de la temporada 2012/13, Newell's no completó la compra del pase para poder utilizar los recursos en otros futbolistas que jerarquizaron al plantel y que tantos resultados le dieron al Club. Asimismo, Newell's pudo realizar estas operaciones a pesar de los problemas impositivos que mantiene el jugador Vergini con el club Fénix, de Uruguay.
En cuanto a Maximiliano Urruti, el jugador tiene vigente un contrato laboral al cual le resta un año de cumplimiento. No existe deuda de ningún tipo ni con Urruti ni con el club Sagrado Corazón. La institución considera que el futbolista está faltando a su obligación contractual y que debe presentarse a trabajar bajo la órdenes del cuerpo técnico de primera división. En caso que esto no sucediera, Newell's Old Boys ejercerá los mecanismos legales correspondientes para defender sus derechos.
The statement is of course in Spanish but even a quick google translate of it makes it clear that the club is drawing a line in the sand about Urruti walking away. With the line drawn it will be interesting to see if the player arrives in Toronto on Tuesday and just how Toronto FC manage to resolve things. If this battle does wind up in an arbitration court it could drag on for an extended period of time and wind up being quite costly.
The press release is not the only thing that Newell's seem to have written today as they allegedly also sent a letter to Toronto FC and the Canadian Soccer Association. That news came out via twitter as one of the first accounts to report Urruti to Toronto FC continues to share interesting details on the potential transfer.
#Newell's mandó hoy una carta documento al Toronto FC con copia a la Federación canadiense por el inminente pase de Urruti. Lo más saliente:— César Luis Merlo (@CLMerlo) August 5, 2013
1) Urruti tiene contrato con NOB hasta junio 2014. Tanto Toronto como el jugador pueden tener sanciones económica y deportiva si lo fichan.— César Luis Merlo (@CLMerlo) August 5, 2013
2) #Newell's advierte al Toronto sobre una indemnización x daño deportivo ya que el jugador dejó el club un día antes que arranque el torneo— César Luis Merlo (@CLMerlo) August 5, 2013
3) #Newell's, además, considera que debería abonársele u$s 150 mil por derechos de formación y un dinero a determinar x ruptura de contrato.— César Luis Merlo (@CLMerlo) August 5, 2013
4) Por lo antes mencionado, #Newell's le pide a Toronto que desista de contratar a Urruti sin haber negociado de club a club violando reglas— César Luis Merlo (@CLMerlo) August 5, 2013
The tweets translate into english as follows (translation kindly done by Armen Bedakian):
"Today, Newell's Old Boys (NOB) sent Toronto FC a document - with another copy sent to the Canadian Soccer Association - regarding the imminent transfer of Maximiliano Urruti.
1) Urruti has a contract with NOB, which runs until June of 2014 - both Toronto FC and Urruti can be sanctioned economically and sportingly if Urruti signs for the club.
2) NOB is warning Toronto FC of damages/compensation since Urruti left the club one day before the tournament kicked off.
3) NOB is considering a fine of $150,000 U.S. (translators note: this figure could be $1.5 million or even $150 million - the shorthand used for the tweet's number was unclear) for Urruti to train with the club and futher compensation due to a breach of contract
4) NOB is telling Toronto FC to stop chasing Urruti without negotiating with the club first, and violating the rules."
The main points to come out of those tweets is that Newell's feel that if Toronto try to bring in the player that are helping him to breach his contract with the club. NOB make it clear that unless Toronto FC desist from bringing in the player without first negotiation a deal with them their will be legal repercussions. It seems the Argentine club would seek 150,000 USD in intial compensation for breach of contract.
That 1.5 million dollar figure seems quite fair when you consider that in the past Toronto's offer for the player was reported to be just over the one-million dollar mark but NOB does not seem to be looking for a transfer fee in this case. If it is in fact just $150,000 that would be extremely low considering the seemingly threatening tone found in some of the other tweets. That number would certainly not be enough to scare TFC off of bringing the player in.
That $150,000 could just be the start of things though as NOB would be looking for that as the initial compensation but would also seek more fund for breach of contract. That is where things could really get messy as it would mean the situation having to be resolved by a court of arbitration and the club could demand substantial compensation.
It seems that the dream of TFC landing Urruti on a free transfer is firmly out the window unless they somehow know something that Newell's are unwilling to acknowledge at this point in time. If Toronto do want to bring in Urruti they may need to work out a transfer for the player which would be the quickest way to resolve what is quickly devolving into a messy situation.
Hopefully we will get some answers to what is going on in the coming days with Urruti expected to arrive in Toronto on Tuesday. Things are certainly not getting less convoluted at this point so Kevin Payne will likely have a lot of explaining to do if the club does announce the player's signing.
Authors note: thanks to Armen and Marcelo Castillo for help with translation