MADRID (Reuters) - Real Madrid and Manchester United have blamed each other over the failure to tie up Spain goalkeeper David De Gea's move to the capital before Monday's midnight transfer deadline.
The deal, which included Costa Rica keeper Keylor Navas moving to the English club, was scuppered when the paperwork did not arrive at the Spanish league in time and the data was not entered into FIFA's Transfer Matching System (TMS) as required.
Real said in a statement on Tuesday that the bureaucratic snafu, which prompted widespread ridicule on social media, was not their fault and detailed exhaustively how and why the necessary documents were not ready until it was too late.
United responded by publishing a statement giving a very different version of events and described De Gea as "a key member" of the squad whom they had not wanted to sell.
According to Real, United "did not open any channel of negotiation" on a possible De Gea transfer until Monday morning.
After initial agreement was reached, Real said they sent the contracts to United at 1:39 p.m. Spanish time (1139 GMT).
Eight hours later they were sent back with "small modifications", which Real said they immediately accepted.
Real then sent the contracts, signed by De Gea and Navas, back to United for their signature at 2132 GMT, 28 minutes before the deadline.
United entered the details of De Gea's transfer into TMS at exactly midnight Spanish time but did not register the Navas deal and by then it was too late for Real to access the system.
TMS gave them a last chance to register the deal about half an hour later and Real also sent the documents to the Spanish league even though they knew the deadline had passed.
"Real Madrid did everything necessary, and at all times, to complete these two transfers," Real's statement, published on their website (www.realmadrid.com), concluded.
According to United's version, however, at 20 minutes to midnight "major changes to the documentation came through (from Real) which immediately put the deals at risk.
"Only (five minutes before the deadline) were the documents that are needed to cancel David’s contract received by Manchester United from Real Madrid," they said in the statement on their website (www.manutd.com).
"The fact that Manchester United filed the papers on time was acknowledged by the Football Association, who offered to support that claim in any discussions with FIFA.
"The club offered this assistance, as well as its own timestamped documents, to Real Madrid but they have chosen not to go down this route.
"Manchester United acts appropriately and efficiently in its transfer dealings. The club is delighted that its fan-favourite double Player of the Year, David De Gea, remains a Manchester United player."
The Spanish league did not respond to a request for comment.
As things stand, De Gea, whose deal with United expires at the end of the season when he can leave for free, could find himself out in the cold, at least until the end of the year when the transfer market opens again.
While the transfer saga was rumbling on, United coach Louis van Gaal left the 24-year-old former Atletico Madrid keeper out of the squad for the Premier League club's opening games of the season, with Argentina international Sergio Romero playing instead.
Real want De Gea as a long-term replacement for his Spain team mate Iker Casillas, the former club captain who joined Porto in July.
Reporting by Iain Rogers; Editing by Clare Fallon