A Premier League investigation into the 2006 Dietmar Hamann transfer has uncovered that Bolton Wanderers did not dupe Manchester City out of the £400,000 fee – but there was no explanation as to why the club's chairman, Phil Gartside, publicly declared that they did.
The inquiry was started after Gartside took part in a radio interview a couple of weeks ago in which he claimed "the full story never actually came out" and went on to say Hamann had never actually been registered with Bolton before his move to City.
Hamann had swapped clubs within 24 hours of arriving at Bolton on a free transfer from Liverpool and Gartside's comments appeared to suggest City should have got the former Germany international for nothing.
Speaking to Hamann in the TalkSport studios, Gartside told him: "What you never realised was that we never actually countersigned the papers and just put them in the drawer. The next thing we know, you came along and told us you'd got this opportunity to go to Manchester City – so we actually sold you without actually signing you; did you know that? We got £400,000 from Manchester City for a player we never actually signed – and that's the truth."
That admission went down badly at City and led to the Premier League investigating whether Bolton should face action. It has established, however, that all the paperwork was completed correctly and the transfer was registered through all the usual procedures.
The league has issued a statement to the Guardian, confirming: "Dietmar Hamann was registered with the Premier League as a Bolton Wanderers player on 1 July 2006."