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By ESPN Staff

Pompey deny FA charge

Portsmouth have 'strongly denied' any wrong-doing after the Premier League side and football agent Willie McKay were both charged by the Football Association with breaches of rules in relation to the transfer of Zimbabwe striker Benjani Mwaruwari to and from the club.

A statement published on the club's official website, read: 'Portsmouth Football Club strongly deny charges by the FA alleging a breach of their regulations concerning the transfer of Benjani Mwaruwari to and from the club.

'We did not pay an agent when Benjani joined the club from Auxerre in January 2006 and his transfer to Manchester City in January this year was approved at the time by the Premier League and the FA's compliance unit.

'This is nothing more than a technicality which we will strongly contest.'

Benjani's move from Auxerre to Pompey figured in Lord Stevens' Quest team's probes into alleged irregular dealings and was never written off at the end of the inquiry.

The deal was originally said to have cost Portsmouth £4.1million although then Portsmouth chairman Milan Mandaric claimed the figure was £4.4million.

Benjani, now 30, was a popular figure at Fratton Park even though he failed to score in his first 14 games, and last season he finally found his shooting boots with 12 goals in 26 starts including a hat-trick against Reading.

Then to finance a £7.5 million move for Jermain Defoe from Tottenham, Benjani was sold on deadline day in January to Manchester City for an eventually agreed £3.87million fee million - with likely add-ons planned to make a total of £7.6million.

The transfer went beyond the deadline after the player missed two flights to Manchester and looked likely to be called off but was finally completed and Benjani scored a debut goal in City's win 2-1 win over Manchester United.

He added just two more goals - one against Pompey - in 12 City appearances before the end of last season and is currently injured, looking likely to miss the start of the new campaign.

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