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United cleared to sign Pogba, Le Havre protest

8 October 2009 18:40

PARIS (AFP) - Manchester United have been given the green light to sign French teenager Paul Pogba after FIFA on Thursday ruled that the English champions had not induced him to break a contract with Le Havre.

But his former club have hit back by arguing that FIFA's ruling is only provisional and therefore not an end to the saga surrounding the 16-year-old midfielder.

United issued a statement declaring: "Manchester United is pleased to confirm that the Football Association has been authorised by FIFA to register Paul Pogba as a Manchester United player with immediate effect."

The French second division team responded by issuing a statement of their own.

"FIFA have not validated the transfer of Paul Pogba but have, as they systematically do in cases like this, issued a provisional international certificate," the club said.

"The decision of the international body is therefore a non-event and is normal procedure."

France Under-16 captain Pogba was poised to join United in the summer, but Le Havre accused them of offering financial inducements to lure him to Old Trafford and called on world football's governing body FIFA to intervene.

The case appeared to have similarities to the Gael Kakuta affair, which saw United's Premier League rivals Chelsea hit with a transfer ban for the next two transfer windows after FIFA found that they had illegally coerced the young winger into leaving his former club Lens.

FIFA's investigation into United's attempts to sign Pogba, however, found that the player could not have been offered financial inducements to break his contract because he hadn't signed one.

The judge overseeing the case asserted that Pogba was still an amateur because he was not on the club's payroll and was only paid expenses.

Le Havre president Jean-Pierre Louvel had been adamant in his pronouncements that United had bent the rules, leading the English club to issue a warning threatening to take him to court if he continued to speak out.

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