Duncan McGuire back with Orlando City after transfer snafu


High-scoring forward Duncan McGuire is back with Orlando City SC after his proposed transfer to Blackburn Rovers was turned down by the English Football League.

The Blackburn Rovers had reached a deal with Orlando City on a six-month loan but the transaction wasn’t approved because the required paperwork was submitted after the 11 p.m. transfer deadline on Feb. 1.

An appeal was filed and the EFL Board upheld the decision.

“Blackburn Rovers admitted it did not click to submit the application to the EFL until after the closure of the window as a result of human error but argued that all relevant details had been agreed, signed and uploaded onto the system in advance of 11 p.m.,” the EFL said via statement on Thursday.

“Upon comprehensive review of submissions, the Board determined that the upload of documents into a draft application area did not constitute sending documents to the EFL. It also took the decision that it was not prepared to exercise discretion to permit the registration outside of the window as the EFL Executive had correctly interpreted and applied its Regulations and associated Guidance.”

The Blackburn Rovers confirmed that they didn’t submit the documents prior to the deadline.

“The club is disappointed by the outcome, but accepts the decision of the EFL Board,” the Rovers said in a statement. “Duncan McGuire will now return to Orlando at the earliest opportunity to re-join his club ahead of the start of the 2024 MLS season.”

The Rovers indicated they will look to acquire McGuire again later this year.

McGuire, who turned 23 on Monday, was the sixth overall draft pick by Orlando in 2023 and had a standout rookie MLS campaign. He scored 13 goals with three assists in 29 matches (17 starts) in the regular season to help power the Lions to the playoffs.

“We understand and sympathize with Duncan’s situation over the last week,” Orlando City said in a statement. “He is still an important part of our club and we are committed to providing him with a platform for his growth. We look forward to welcoming him back into our environment soon.”