Manchester City have been reported to Fifa by Rennes over the alleged poaching of French player Jeremy Helan.
Mark Hughes signed up the teenage defender earlier this year after he reportedly opted against seeing out his first professional contract with Rennes.
He had previously been wanted by Manchester United but Rennes refused to do a deal insisting that the player had a pre-contract agreement which tied him to the club.
If found guilty of inducing a youngster to break a contract, City could well find themselves in hot water with football’s governing body after Chelsea were recently banned from signing new players until January 2011 over their pursuit of Gael Kakuta.
However City say they haven’t done anything illegal and could be backed up by Helan who is himself in a legal battle with Rennes over what he did and didn’t sign before leaving for England.
Speaking to The Independent, Rennes’ technical director Pierre Dreossi said:
Manchester City' must now realise the consequences of their attitude in the Helan case as it is even more illegal than Kakuta.
We have referred this to Fifa.' For us it was strange to have no discussion from City and now, in the week after the Fifa declaration on Chelsea, I would hope that it will be the same thing for Manchester City.
Kakuta signed up for just a possibility of a full contract. For Helan there was definitely one there, under the terms of the pre-contract agreement, because he had played for his country.
Manchester United said it was not possible to negotiate with us but for City now this is dangerous, though we are not expecting a decision from Fifa for perhaps several years.