Football: Only Manchester United cleared in probe over Pogba transfer, Juventus to face disciplinary proceedings

Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba (left) posing with Hong Kong fans during a promotional event for adidas Tango League, a three-on-three football game, on Monday. Below: Pogba holding up a custom-made sign reading "Pogba and Hong Kong" in Chine
Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba (above) posing with Hong Kong fans during a promotional event for adidas Tango League, a three-on-three football game, on Monday. PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE
Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba (left) posing with Hong Kong fans during a promotional event for adidas Tango League, a three-on-three football game, on Monday. Below: Pogba holding up a custom-made sign reading "Pogba and Hong Kong" in Chine
Pogba holding up a custom-made sign reading "Pogba and Hong Kong" in Chinese, during the Hong Kong promotional event.PHOTO: EUROPEAN PRESSPHOTO AGENCY

LAUSANNE • Fifa have cleared Manchester United but opened disciplinary proceedings against Juventus over Paul Pogba's world-record transfer, football's world governing body announced yesterday.

The 24-year-old France midfielder returned to United in a deal worth £89.3 million (S$158 million) last August from the Italian giants.

Last month, Fifa began an inquiry into the move, requesting information from United about the headline transfer.

However, in yesterday's statement, Fifa confirmed that while United were in the clear of any wrongdoing, they were taking action against Juventus.

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It added: "As proceedings are ongoing, please understand we cannot comment further at this stage."

If Juventus are found guilty of wrongdoing, the Italian champions could be fined or handed a transfer ban.

Fifa did not give details of the nature of their proceedings against the Turin club but some media reports have suggested it could be related to breaches of third-party ownership rules.

In April 2015, Fifa announced the banning of third-party ownership, barring either clubs or players from entering into economic rights agreements with third-party investors.

Pogba's move came under particular scrutiny amid reports the player's agent Mino Raiola would earn €49 million (S$76 million) from the deal.

Raiola is suspected of a conflict of interest, as he was at the time an agent for Pogba, Juventus and Manchester United.

He admitted in an interview with the Financial Times last year: "Juventus was not the only owner of the player's rights."

Last month, French website Mediapart, quoting the Football Leaks documents, claimed: "Pogba in reality cost €127 million to Manchester United with €49 million going into Raiola's pockets and only €78 millions into Juve's bank account."

According to the investigative site, Raiola "did not appear to let Man United know that he was also working for Juventus", an arrangement that is outlawed under English rules.

The Italian-Dutch agent recently dismissed suggestions he had "cashed £40 million" from Pogba's move as "fake news" and, during an interview with Gazzetta dello Sport, refused to confirm his slice of the deal.

He said: "(I received) €27 million? I'll just say it's not an exact figure: maybe it's less but maybe it's even more."

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS, THE GUARDIAN

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 22, 2017, with the headline 'Only Man Utd cleared in probe over Pogba transfer'. Print Edition | Subscribe