Manchester City have been cleared of wrongdoing over the signing of teenager Benjamin Garre from Argentinian club Velez Sarsfield, the Court of Arbitration for Sport has announced.
The newly-crowned Premier League champions could have faced a transfer ban had they been found guilty of breaching international transfer regulations when they signed Garre, then 16, in 2016.
After claiming City acted unethically by approaching Garre when he was still only 15, Velez then alleged rules were broken when he was signed after his 16th birthday.
World governing body FIFA forbids international transfers for under-18s but it is permitted by law within the European Union. City successfully argued that Garre, because he has an Italian passport, was entitled to move.
FIFA therefore rejected Velez’s initial complaint but the club took their case to Lausanne-based CAS, where a hearing took place last year.
After a significant delay, a ruling has now been delivered that backs City and supports FIFA’s original decision.
A statement from CAS read: “The appeal filed on 12 December 2016 by Club Atletico Velez Sarsfield against the decision issued on 24 August 2016 by the single judge of the sub-committee of the FIFA players’ status committee (the challenged decision) is dismissed and, accordingly, the challenged decision is confirmed.”
Further details are due to be published on Friday.
City could have been banned from signing players for up to two transfer windows had the ruling not gone in their favour.
Barcelona, Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid have been subjected to bans for breaching rules around the signing of international players under the age of 18 in recent years.