Pogba finally free to play
Posted by nickogs20 on October 9, 2009
One of the year’s most drawn-out and bitter transfer wrangles has moved one step closer to being finally sorted out after FIFA this week authorised the FA to register Paul Pogba as a Manchester United player, effective immediately.
In a statement on the official club website manutd.com, a club spokesman said “Manchester United is pleased to confirm that the Football Association has been authorised by FIFA to register Paul Pogba as a United player with immediate effect”. Pogba originally made the move to Manchester back at the end of July but has been left in limbo since then as the French Football Federation refused to release his registration due to complaints from the youngster’s previous club Le Havre about the deal.
Le Havre have alleged that Pogba, 16, and his family had signed a ‘non-solicitation agreement’, effectively a pre-contract deal that committed the French teen to signing his first professional contract with the club from Northern France. When Pogba made the decision to move to United, Le Havre believed the Reds had induced a breach of contract and filed a complaint with FIFA, no doubt encouraged by the world governing body’s decision to seriously punish Chelsea for what appeared to be a similar ‘offence’ in relation to the player Gael Kakuta and his signing from Lens.
With the French Football Federation supporting their member club’s stance and refusing to issue the international registration transfer certificate which would allow Pogba to be registered in England and permit him to play for United, the young defensive midfielder has had to wait patiently for FIFA to reach a decision, which finally came this week. The governing body has declared that Pogba was not contractually linked to Le Havre and, as such, United have not breached any FIFA regulations.
With Le Havre refusing to accept that decision and the international registration certificate still being withheld, FIFA have authorised the FA to issue a provisional certificate, which allows the player to play while the case continues. Le Havre have signalled their intent to fight on, but this week’s developments must make their chances of success look decidedly slim, meaning that provisional certificate is likely to be replaced by the real deal long before it expires in 12 months time.
While the arguments and legal wrangling will continue for some time behind the scenes, attentions can now switch to the field of play, with United fans now able to look forward to seeing a player they’ve heard so much about actually don the red shirt and kick a ball in anger. News of the provisional certificate being issued actually reached United’s academy staff while they were on the bus en route to a behind-closed-doors friendly against Derby on Tuesday, allowing them to give the delighted Pogba an unexpected first run-out.
Next on the agenda is a competitive debut, and Reds academy boss Paul McGuinness hinted on MUTV’s Young, Gifted and Red programme yesterday that there is every chance of the young defensive midfielder featuring in tomorrow’s U18 clash with Crewe Alexandra. Also likely to play is defender Michele Fornasier, who made his debut last weekend having been affected by a similar dispute after his move from Fiorentina.
The Reds still have one youngster stuck in this footballing no-man’s-land, defender Alberto Massacci. Signed from Empoli before the other two foreign recruits, the Siena-born right-back is still awaiting clearance and will be stuck on the sidelines a little longer. Happily, according to McGuinness, all three teenagers have shown a terrific attitude during a difficult time for them, giving everything in training even without the prospect of playing at the end of the week. Pogba in particular was described as an infectious personality who has seamlessly become a popular member of the squad, very much like Gerard Piqué when he joined the club in 2005.
We wish Paul and Michele the best of luck as they finally embark on their careers with Manchester United – fingers crossed Alberto can join them soon.