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Controversy Surrounds Kevin Oliveria's Sporting KC Contract

Kevin Oliveira's agent cries foul on handling of Oliveira's contract with Sporting KC.

MLS: U.S. Open Cup Final-New York Red Bulls at Sporting KC Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

On Sunday, Paulo Teixeira, the agent of former Sporting Kansas City and Swope Park Rangers midfielder Kevin Oliveira, made some strong claims in a Facebook post regarding SKC’s dealings with his client.

Before you go read his full account, it should be noted the story can be tough to follow at times. However, I reached out to Teixeira, he replied and provided supporting documents for many of the things he is claiming.

Both Sporting Kansas City and MLS have declined to comment at this time. Sporting KC as a policy does not discuss players that are not under contract.

The main concerns from Teixeira seem to be around Oliveira signing with Sporting KC, the validity of that contract and that he, as the agent did not agree.

Editorial note: While we do not doubt Paulo Teixeira’s understanding of what happened, we want to be clear: this is one point of view. From Sporting Kansas City’s point of view, it may have been simply a rush to get Oliveira an MLS contract before the deadline and it ended with simply letting go a player that was no longer worth the hassle.

Also note: Teixeira released documents and communications to us that look genuine but we do not know if there are other documents that may shed more light.

Thad Bell

How the controversy started

According to Teixeira, Oliveira reached out to him when SKC had offered him a contract on September 13th, 2017 — just two days before the September 15th roster freeze.

Teixeira says he then reached out to Sporting KC’s Director of Player Personnel Brian Bliss with the following exchange:

Paulo Teixeira: ‘Brian, take out option 2019 and 2020 and we are good’ – 9/13, 19:21

Brian Bliss: ‘What if we take out 2020 option and make 2019 $100,000’ – 9/13, 19:34

PT: ‘I think we should stick to what was initially agreed with Kerry 2016’ – 9/13, 19:48

BB: ‘Then we have to pass on it and keep Kevin on B team. It’s not a problem for us. We are trying to give him opportunity and get him more money’ – 9/13, 19:49

BB: ‘Not sure what arrangement you had with Kerry’ – 9/13, 19:50

Teixeira states that this is where the communication stops, implying he never responded to Bliss. All we have is Teixeira’s word that this is all of the relevant part of the communication. Obviously the beginning of the communication isn’t there and the above conversation appears to start in the middle of the negotiations. As it’s left above, Teixeira does not want Oliveira signing a Sporting KC contract, remaining with the Swope Park Rangers.

This is where things start to breakdown and get weird. Oliveira proceeded to sign a contract anyways, which is attached in full (it should be noted this was sent from Paulo Teixeira and we are unable to confirm the validity of the document).

The issue is that the contract is not signed by Teixeira, who is his agent, or by Joao José Cardoso da Silva who is his attorney. Major League Soccer (MLS) reportedly rejected the contract without the agent or attorney signature but later allowed a “temporary registration” so that Oliveira could play. The issue would then need to be sorted out at the end of the season.

There are a couple issues at hand here. The contract he signed, without a 2020 option year and with the 2019 option being for $100,000 (as opposed to simply a five percent raise in 2018) were in the deal, despite Teixeira saying he rejected those terms. In his words:

“It was unacceptable for me to let my client exchange a secure contract with SPR for another one with options, no matter what the amounts in it.”

Teixeira states that the Swope Park Rangers contract was guaranteed through 2018, something the Sporting KC contract lacked.

In Teixeira’s story he indicates that “a few weeks ago” Sporting KC was “invited” by someone and the League (MLS) to settle Oliveira’s claim for the remainder of his SPR contract. When asked for clarification, Teixeira simply stated:

“I am not authorized to copy to you the League's mail, but essentially it says this: MLS contract ends Dec 17, player goes back to SPR for the remainder or we find a solution for all parties that makes sense. SKC found the solution - release the player.”

Another issue that Teixeira brought up in his piece is that Kevin’s primary language isn’t English and the contract he signed is in English and is complicated. If you’ve ever signed a contract for a house or car, you know how weird the wording can be. Oliveira’s native language is Portuguese, the national language of Cape Verde where he is from. He also played in Portugal, where they obviously speak Portuguese. In the contract Oliveira signed it offers to give a copy in several other languages, including Portuguese.

Excerpt from the contract Kevin Oliveira signed on Sept 14, 2017.

Teixeira brings up several other issues like the inserting of an “Agent Fee” in the contract the Oliveira signed that wasn’t in his copy. He sent me both and I can confirm the “Agent Fee” portion isn’t in his. From reading the contract, the $10,000 fee is from Oliveira’s wages and that’s on the copy he signed (though no one can truly be sure he read it). That is ultimately Oliveira’s responsibility to read and understand before signing, though it wouldn’t be surprising that a 21-year-old kid anxious to sign with the first team didn’t read it as thoroughly as he should have.

Making it seem a little personal

Teixeira brings up several things in his story that seem to detract from his main point. He takes jabs at the team for the Gerso Fernandes signing. He questions the coaching of Peter Vermes on his use of Oliveira. He also pokes at Bliss after both Texieira and Joao José Cardoso da Silva met him in Madrid by stating another individual, former Real Madrid chief scout Paco de Gracia, stated, “...the only thing this guy (Bliss) does is traveling around and eating in good restaurants.” Seeming to imply he isn’t a good scout.

Comments like those make you wonder if this is personal or entirely based on facts. Is it possible that Teixeira is simply slighted because his client got cut?

What Does it All Mean?

It would seem if all this is true, Sporting KC could simply pay out the 2018 portion of Kevin Oliveira’s contract with Swope and this would be resolved. However, it could be more complicated than that and have greater future ramifications.

If this is truly how things happened, or even if other players or agents perceived that this is how things happened, this could be damaging to Sporting KC’s reputation. If you are a young and promising player from another country, would this give you pause about coming to Kansas City?

From the beginning, it was surprising when Oliveira was released, as I stated the other day. He is still so young and promising. When Robb Heineman initially mentioned Oliveira (not by name, but as a “CM” who would start with SPR) he indicated he expected him on the senior roster “this season” (which was 2016 at the time).

The Blue Testament reached out to Sporting Kansas City and MLS for clarification on Teixeira's story. As of publication, they declined to comment. This story will be updated if/when additional information is received.