Major League Soccer

D.C. United protests assignment of Williams to Crew. Washington to visit Cairo.

by John Haydon

HERNDON, Va. (Tuesday, March 3, 1998) -- (Washington) D.C. United filed an official complaint with Major League Soccer yesterday over the allocation of Jamaican forward Andrew Williams to the Columbus Crew.

Williams, 20, a two-time all-American at the University of Rhode Island and a member of Jamaica's World Cup team, was assigned to the Crew even though United had made a request to the league for his services.

"We are filing an official protest," said United spokesman Rick Lawes. "We cited certain improprieties that were involved in allocating him to Columbus. We want this decision overturned."

Lawes did not detail the alleged improprieties. MLS handles all player contracts, not the teams, in order to maintain parity amongst the clubs.

Williams was classified by the league as a "discovery player," meaning the first team to formally request him would gain his services. Both D.C. and Columbus filed their requests simultaneously last month. With Columbus being allocated Trindad & Tobago striker Stern John last week, United hoped Williams would be theirs.

General manager Kevin Payne has often said he feels his team is discriminated against in the assignment of new players because of its success in capturing the infant league’s first two championships.

In a separate matter, D.C. has accepted an offer to play an Egyptian League all-star team on April 14 at the 100,000-seat national stadium in Cairo. The game could draw great interest because it will likely include most of the Egyptian players who played in their nation’s 2-0 upset of defending champion South Africa in the African Nations Cup final on Saturday.

The match, part of a four-day trip, falls three days after United's league game against Colorado at RFK Stadium and four days before it plays at New England.

John Haydon is soccer columnist for the Washington Times and can be e-mailed at haydon@twtmail.com.