Karl Decena, InterAKTV
After a tight battle for the United Football League crown last season, rivals Global FC and Stallion Sta.Lucia are in a tug-of-war once again — this time, off the pitch.
Global and Stallion are both claiming the rights to star striker Rufo Sanchez, who won the Golden Boot and the Most Valuable Player awards last season.
League runner-up Global announced on Wednesday that it has signed Sanchez, who led Stallion Sta.Lucia to the Cup and League championships last season.
“Yes, Rufo and Global FC has come to terms,” Global owner Dan Palami told InterAKTV.
However, Stallion coach Ernie Nierras claimed that Sanchez is still under contract with Stallion and Global’s deal is not yet final. He admitted that he is “selling” Sanchez to Global, but said that he hasn’t received a formal offer from the squad to acquire the Spanish star.
“Rufo has an existing contract with Stallion. Until I receive and accept Global’s offer, Rufo is still our player,” Nierras told InterAKTV.
Sanchez initially joined Global on loan last July. Nierras said that the agreement was only for the duration of the 2013 Singapore Cup, where Global was able to reach the semifinals.
But Sanchez claimed last August that his contract with Stallion has ended, allowing him to sign anywhere he wanted.
“From 16 August (I) didn’t belong to any team. So here I can do whatever I want. I don’t like people than (sic) speak too much,” Sanchez wrote on his Twitter account.
Nierras said that apart from receiving Global’s official offer to Stallion, he wants Sanchez to issue a public apology before letting him go.
“He lied about being a free agent and everything that has been said and written so far,” Nierras said. “Unless we accept Global’s offer and Rufo’s public apology, he is not going anywhere.”
Sanchez’s addition would be a big boost to Global, which already boasts of a several national team players and some of UFL’s top foreign footballers. He would form a deadly attacking duo with another star striker in Izzo Elhabib, who was one of the league’s leading scorers last season.
Interestingly, both squads disputed the top UFL top honors last season. Global was Stallion’s biggest rival for the League title last season, falling short by just a few points to hoist the crown. They also faced off for the Cup championship last year.