Manchester City will be hit with a two-window transfer ban if they are found guilty of breaching rules around the signing of a teenager next week.
The Court of Arbitration for Sport is set to hand down their ruling over the signing of Argentinian youngster Benjamin Garre.
City signed the teenager just a few days after his 16th birthday, but his former club Velez Sarsfield allege the Premier League champions approached Garre when he was still 15 and therefore breached transfer rules.
The case was heard last July, but there has yet to be any ruling from CAS as City robustly defended their position.
If City are found guilty, the standard punishment for such an offence is a two-window transfer ban.
City claim Garre was free to join them when he turned 16 because he holds an Italian passport, but Velez insist Fifa rules allowing players under 18 to move clubs only covers teenagers swapping one European side for another.
Fifa sanctioned the transfer and City are confident CAS will rule in their favour.
The Sky Blues chances of successfully defending their league title next season will take a massive hit if City are unable to sign any new players.
Pep Guardiola would surely be incensed to have his hands tied in the transfer market, while the ban would give great hope to the likes of Manchester United and Liverpool who feel they are close to challenging City for the league title.
The signings Guardiola made last summer were instrumental in City winning the league this campaign.
Barcelona, Atletico Madrid and Real Madrid have all fallen foul of breaching transfer rules in signing players under 18 in recent seasons and City now face the same fate.
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