Leicester City remain committed to trying to find a way to complete the £22m transfer of Adrien Silva from Sporting Lisbon, after it emerged that the Premier League club missed the deadline to register the Portugal international by 14 seconds.
Fifa has refused to accept Silva’s registration on the basis that the paperwork relating to the transfer arrived late – the electronic system in place records exact timings and, in the case of the 28-year-old midfielder, shows that the documents landed at the Football Association 14 seconds after the deadline. That paperwork was then forwarded to Fifa as part of the protocol for international transfers.
Leicester hoped that the deal would still be ratified – they announced Silva’s signing subject to international clearance on 1 September – but it emerged on Wednesday evening that the transfer had not been approved by the world governing body, raising questions about the player’s short-term future and whether he would have to wait until January to represent the Midlands club.
It has turned into a messy, complex situation on which Leicester are refusing to concede defeat but they know they must handle sensitively and carefully, especially as there is a player caught in the middle who is powerless to do anything. As things stand there is an argument that Silva is not technically a Leicester player – although Sporting may argue otherwise.
The FA is trying to support Leicester as much as possible, mindful of the fact that the club come under its jurisdiction. With that in mind, the governing body approached Fifa on Leicester’s behalf to seek guidance, yet it received little encouragement.
A Fifa spokesperson said: “We can confirm that Fifa has been contacted by the Football Association in connection with the registration of the player Adrien Silva and the club FC Leicester City. Fifa has replied accordingly providing reference to applicable regulations.”
The bottom line is that the paperwork did not get to the FA on time and none of the parties involved would dispute that fact. Whether there are mitigating circumstances that could open up the possibility of some sort of appeal or legal challenge, especially as the documents were only 14 seconds late, is unclear.
The only thing that can be said for sure at the moment is that Leicester are exploring every avenue to try to find a resolution to a far from straightforward transfer.
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