Here's a story that got a little buried with the talk that Chivas USA may be on sale. Midfielder Oswaldo Minda, in his second season with the Goats, apparently talked about his situation with Ecuador-based soccer website Ecuagol, and told Roberth Armijos he hasn't been paid his proper Chivas USA salary for five months (Spanish). Furthermore, the article alleges that Minda has been recently held out of the lineup as a punitive measure, not because of an injury.
You may recall that Minda's situation through most of the preseason was unsettled, as he was evidently not welcome at training despite being in Los Angeles, leading to the sight of the midfielder watching preseason scrimmages in street clothes. Our podcast partner "What the Flock?!" spoke to Minda during the preseason, when he indicated that the club was trying to renegotiate his contract in order to fit into a lower budget. According to the salary figures released by the MLS Players' Union last October, Minda made just $50,000 in base salary, and $68,750 in guaranteed compensation, neither figure even remotely large by MLS standards. However, Minda is believed to be a Designated Player, due to his transfer fee, which has never been disclosed. If Minda is indeed making less than $70,000, and Chivas want him to go even cheaper, that seems frankly absurd, especially considering how important Minda is to the team on the field.
Since allegations like these seldom come into play in MLS, the Spanish wing of MLSsoccer.com had an article on the situation Tuesday. All player contracts are technically held by MLS, because the league is legally a single entity, and a charge that a player wasn't being paid the amount negotiated for his contract impacts the league more than it would anywhere else. The league categorically denied Minda was not being paid the required amount from his contract, and while there was a remark that the team also denied the allegation, no Chivas USA representative was quoted in the article. Kristel Valencia's reporting included a point that the problem between Minda and the club may stem from some deferred money he was apparently due from his last club, Deportivo Quito. At this point, I can only speculate about what that is about, but I would guess that Minda may have been promised a portion of his transfer fee in order to make up the difference from his official salary and what he thinks constitutes "fair" compensation, and perhaps Chivas decided not to share that money with him after all.
As far as what his current official salary is, we won't have an indication until the Players' Union releases figures, probably next month. I can't imagine it would change substantially, but if anything, Minda deserves to be paid more than what his figure was given as last year.
And if the club is truly trying to renege on a previous agreement, that's flat-out awful. MLS can stand to have some of the hallmarks of Latin American soccer introduced, but shady situations regarding payment shouldn't be one of them.
What do you think? Leave a comment below!