Sunil Gulati, the deputy commissioner of Major League Soccer, was removed Tuesday, reportedly for his unilateral decision to renew the contract of midfielder Tab Ramos with the New York/New Jersey MetroStars.
MLS commissioner Doug Logan confirmed the move but would not discuss the reasons for it. Gulati's responsibilities were reassigned to Ivan Gazidis, executive vice president of player relations and operations.Â"
A message left at Gulati's home was not immediately returned.
Gulati has been a key figure in U.S. soccer, both as the league's No. 2 official and as the top aide to 1994 World Cup head Alan Rothenberg. He arranges international player transfers and at times has done international scheduling for the U.S. Soccer Federation.
In MLS, all players sign contracts with the league and are assigned to teams, with Gulati playing the most prominent role in the decisions.
Gulati's move to exercise the option year on Ramos' three-year contract at the league maximum salary of $250,000 apparently angered MetroStars' official Stuart Subotnick, according to several reports.
For slary cap reasons, the MetroStars felt the deal necessitated the trades of two popular players, goalkeeper Tony Meola and defender Alexi Lalas, to Kansas City last month.
The MLS board of governors, chaired by Subotnick, met for four hours in Dallas on Monday to discuss Gulati, who reportedly had the support of Philip Anschutz, owner of the Colorado Rapids, Chicago Fire and Los Angeles Galaxy; and Lamar Hunt, owner of the Columbus Crew and Wizards.
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