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Chris Smalling banned from Man Utd game

last updated Friday 29th January 2010, 2:22 PM
Fulham defender Chris Smalling
Fulham defender
Chris Smalling
Chris Smalling
Chris Smalling, the Fulham defender, will not be permitted to play against Manchester United after the Premier League's board ruled last night that doing so would put all parties in a difficult position before his £12 million summer move to Old Trafford.

Smalling completed the latest stage of his remarkable journey from non-League football yesterday by signing a four-year contract with United, but the deal does not come into effect until July.

It is rare for a player to sign a pre-contract agreement to move between Premier League clubs and, with Fulham due to take on United at Old Trafford on March 10, there was speculation over whether Smalling would be able to take part.

There is no clause in the two clubs' agreement to prevent Smalling, 20, playing against United and, in accordance with the rules introduced by the Premier League in 2007 to create more transparency, there is no gentlemen's agreement either. However, the Premier League moved to prevent any suspicion over the deal. What is certain is that it represents a remarkable coup for Fulham, who signed Smalling from Maidstone United for a nominal fee just 18 months ago, and for the player, who has started just two Premier League matches for Roy Hodgson's team. United raised their offer to £12 million, with most of that sum guaranteed, after learning of a bid from Arsenal.

Source Oliver Kay at The Times
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