Frank Lampard finally signs MLS contract to play for NYCFC

Frank Lampard, who is currently at Manchester City, will join NYCFC in the summer.

PAUL ELLIS/AFP/Getty Images

Frank Lampard has finally signed his Major League Soccer contract to play for New York City FC.

NYCFC confirmed to The Associated Press on Saturday that this week Lampard signed a contract to start in July – midway through the new team’s first season in MLS.

The announcement followed the AP detailing repeated misleading public statements from NYCFC and partner club Manchester City about Lampard’s status.

NYCFC stated last July that Lampard signed a two-year contract to start in August 2014. Within two weeks, Man City said the former Chelsea midfielder was returning to the Premier League on ”loan,” having previously categorically ruled out playing for another English club.

But after the Man City stay was extended on Dec. 31 until June, it emerged that Lampard was in fact on a permanent deal in England. Such was the confusion, the Premier League this week investigated the contractual confusion and prompted Man City to eventually confirm that Lampard was in fact only ever under contract with the English champion.

The Abu Dhabi-owned club’s parent company, City Football Group, acknowledged on Friday that the announcement in July was an ”error,” and that Lampard had previously signed only a ”commitment” to play for the New York team from January 2015 on a two-year contract.

City Football Group confirmed on Saturday that Lampard had now signed the same commercial terms that he committed to last year. CFG did not immediately say if Lampard’s contract runs to December 2016 as originally intended or for two years from July 1.

More than five months after NYCFC’s erroneous announcement, MLS said on Saturday: ”Frank Lampard has signed a contract for NYCFC.”

City Football Group’s conduct over Lampard has been criticized by American pundits and fans of NYCFC as well as newspapers in England. Britain’s Daily Mail newspaper said Man City’s ”reputation at home and abroad is in tatters” over the ”trail of misinformation and confusion.”

"I have signed for New York," he said. "The original intention was for that to start on January 1. I signed a Man City agreement in the interim (in August). Now that has obviously changed. I have extended my period here and will join New York later."

"That is what has frustrated me, that people were sort of saying ‘You knew what you were doing’," Lampard added. "I never would have done that. If I had wanted to come to Man City, then I would stand up and come to Man City. That wouldn’t have been a problem.

"And in terms of Man City being ‘sneaky’, they could have signed me on a free anyway if that’s what they wanted to do. People mention Financial Fair Play but what difference would that have made? No difference. It would have been a slippery move, a dodgy move, for nothing. The fact is I signed for New York, then I signed for Man City in the interim and now it has been extended."

City manager Manuel Pellegrini sought to draw a line under the affair on Friday, saying: "I think it’s an issue which is finished.

"Frank now is here. I know that there a lot of different opinions about Frank, about that. I respect all of them, but the decision is taken already and Frank will stay here until the end of the season."

Information from FOXSoccer.com’s newswire services contributed to this report.