Football: Fifa clear Manchester United but target Juventus over Pogba deal

Manchester United central midfielder Paul Pogba with aspiring local players during a promotional event in Hong Kong on June 19, 2017. His agent Mino Raiola is believed to have pocketed some €49 million from his move from Juventus to Manchester Unit
Manchester United central midfielder Paul Pogba with aspiring local players during a promotional event in Hong Kong on June 19, 2017. His agent Mino Raiola is believed to have pocketed some €49 million from his move from Juventus to Manchester United.PHOTO: EPA

LAUSANNE (AFP) - Fifa have cleared Manchester United but opened disciplinary proceedings against Juventus over Paul Pogba's world record transfer, football's governing body announced on Wednesday.

The France midfielder returned to United in a deal worth more than €105.2 million (S$162.9 million) in August 2016 from the Italian giants.

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

But in a statement, Fifa confirmed that while United were in the clear of any wrongdoing, they were taking action against Juventus.

"We can confirm that disciplinary proceedings have been opened against Juventus FC.

"We can also confirm that no disciplinary proceedings have been opened against Manchester United," the statement said.

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

Pogba's move came under particular scrutiny amid reports the player's agent Mino Raiola would earn some €49 million from the deal.

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

In May, 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 million into Juve's bank account."

According to the investigative site, Raiola "didn't appear to let Manchester United know that he was also working for Juventus", an arrangement that is outlawed under English rules.

Pogba, 24, started his career with United but made just three appearances in the Premier League before heading to Italy, after an apparent falling out with then manager Alex Ferguson.

He flourished in Serie A, winning four league titles with Juventus between 2012 and 2016.

He appeared in the 2015 Champions League final, which Juventus lost 1-3 to Barcelona.

At the same time, the powerful midfielder made himself a mainstay of the French national team.

He made his debut in March 2013, just a week after his 20th birthday, in a World Cup qualifier against Georgia.

He also featured as part of the 2014 French World Cup squad and was named the tournament's best young player.

Pogba's performances at the 2016 European Championship helped attract the attention of his former club, under new manager Jose Mourinho.

Last season he helped propel United to a first Europa League title, scoring in his team's 2-0 victory over Ajax in Stockholm on May 25.