Toronto FC sold Doneil Henry Months Ago Without Anyone Knowing

IMAGE, MLSSOCCER.COM

by RYAN BRISTER
Staff Writer

Never underestimate Toronto FC’s dedication to dysfunction.

At a press conference Thursday, Greg Vanney announced that 21-year-old defender Doneil Henry had been sold to a club from Cyprus. One problem: the transfer window closed in August. Henry has been on loan with Toronto for at least a month and a half, and we are just now finding out.

Even by TFC’s lofty standards, this is bizarre. It’s not that uncommon for a player to be sold and immediately loaned back to his original club, where he can continue to get playing time. But typically these deals are announced when they happen, and typically there’s a little more detail than “a club from Cyprus.”

The club Henry was sold to is unknown, supposedly because the deal was negotiated through a third party that owns Henry’s rights. Such third-party was banned by the Premier League in 2008 after controversial dealings involving Kia Joorabchian. Wikipedia describes Joorabchian as “not a licensed agent,” but his dealings with Carlos Tevez and Javier Mascherano led to fines for West Ham United. Kia Joorabchian, naturally, is representing Doneil Henry.

This could all be dismissed as more mismanagement in Toronto, but Major League Soccer is not blameless here. Because of its single-entity structure, MLS is involved in all contract and transfer dealings. They knew that a player had his rights controlled by shady third party, and they knew that he was transferred at least several weeks ago. This knowledge should have been made public earlier. Now, it serves as another example of MLS’s lack of transparency, at a time when the league is very publicly defending itself from unrelated criticism.