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Sep 4, 2009

United deny wrongdoing over Pogba signing

Manchester United have insisted that they have no case to answer over the signing of Paul Pogba from Le Havre this summer.

The French outfit were furious after United signed their 16-year-old starlet, dubbing United's tactics as a "foolish act".

It is now expected that La Havre will seek action from FIFA, following on from their decision to ban Chelsea from signing any players until July 2011 after the Blues were alleged to have induced Gael Kakuta to break his contract with another French club, RC Lens.

Pogba's registration with United has not yet been ratified by FIFA and the French club have not so far made their case to the governing body. A FIFA spokesman said: "There has been no receipt of any complaint by Le Havre regarding this player as of today."

United have strenuously denied they have done anything wrong in signing Pogba. "It is complete nonsense,'' a spokesman for United said. "Everything has been done within UEFA guidelines.''

English clubs have a long history of run-ins with French clubs over the plundering of young talent. In 2004, Le Havre also lost Charles N'Zogbia to Newcastle United and were furious that FIFA supported the transfer under freedom of movement.

And Le Havre managing director Alain Belsoeur claims to have documentation showing Manchester United offered inducements for Pogba, the France Under-16 skipper, to join them. And he wants the Red Devils to be treated in the same way as Chelsea.

"We are still pursuing our case,'' Belsoeur told The Times. "It is a very serious case. We are confident that we'll win because it is in the best interests not just of our club but of sport.

"We spend €5m [about £4.3m] on our academy every year out of a turnover of €12m. It is a huge investment. We do that to give a chance to our players to develop for our first team, not to be an academy for others.

"What is the point of investing in an academy if the players leave at 16? This is clearly a message from FIFA to protect the education system.''

At the time of the Pogba signing, Le Havre stated: "Le Havre wishes to express its indignation regarding the dealings of Manchester United's directors. This foolish act is even more unacceptable because it comes from a club with such stature. At a time when numerous parties, including at European Union level... are speaking out against the trading of minors, Manchester United does not hesitate to uproot a 16-year-old."

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