Manchester United have threatened to take action against Le Havre if they continue with "unfounded" allegations that the Premier League club made payments to the parents of French starlet Paul Pogba in order to entice the player to Old Trafford.
United have grown angry at the sustained assault by the Ligue 2 club, which came in the wake of a transfer ban imposed on Chelsea last week for an infringement of the rules when signing French youngster Gael Kakuta from Lens.
Now Old Trafford officials have written to French club Le Havre, and made them aware in the strongest terms that they must either put up, or shut up.
"In response to the wholly unfounded comments widely reported in the media of Le Havre AC President, Jean-Pierre Louvel, Manchester United wish to categorically confirm that as a matter of club policy and in accordance with the applicable football regulations, we do not offer inducements to the parents of players who sign for the club such as monetary payments or the purchase of houses," United said in a statement.
"Manchester United have today written to Le Havre AC to put it on notice that action will be taken if such allegations are repeated in relation to the transfer of Paul Pogba."
Louvel alleged that the Red Devils paid a total of €200,000 to Progba's parents, plus a house. And insisted the player was promised bumper wages once he turned 17.
Le Havre demanded that FIFA take action against United, and want to see a repeat of the punishment handed out to Chelsea, who have been banned from signing players until 2011.
Louvel said: "They got to the parents, it was simple. €100,000 to the mother, €100,000 to the father and a house.
"I don't see why the Pogba case should not set a legal precedent. There was an agreement that no-one should poach young players. French clubs respect that rule but English clubs do not respect anything.
"FIFA does not allow contracts longer than three years before a player has reached 18. We respect that in France, in seems that in England they don't abide by that rule. "
The club's managing director Alain Belsoeur claims to have proof that United offered sweeteners to Pogba's parents, and is ready to present it to FIFA, although as yet, the world governing body have not acknowledged receipt.
When the Pogba issue was first raised last week, United officials suggested that there was no contract for the 16-year-old to break, therefore the Red Devils could not be offering inducements to do so.
However, they have been annoyed by Le Havre's allegations of impropriety, which has prompted Monday's stinging outburst.
"Manchester United is entirely satisfied that the transfer of Paul Pogba has been conducted in accordance with the regulations set down by the world governing body, FIFA,'' the club's statement added.
"Manchester United is ready to defend any claim brought against it by Le Havre at FIFA.
"It is to be noted that all contractual documentation relating to the player's registration with the club has already been fully ratified by the Football Association and the Premier League.''