Sunderland manager Sam Allardyce says there is no way his could have known about Emmanuel Eboue's one-year ban was imminent when they signed him last month.
The former Arsenal right-back was suspended by FIFA for failing to pay his former agent and the club have given Eboue two weeks to settle the dispute, otherwise he will be sacked.
But Allardyce said there was no way the club could have known Eboue's indiscretion, which backdates to September 2014 when he was fined £22,000 for his non-payment.
"There's not really any way the club could have known it because it was purely and simply confidential," the Black Cats boss said.
"I asked when this came to light, 'Would it drop with the FA and the Premier League as a red flag?' The answer was no - it was confidential, unless the people who were handling the case made it public. We couldn't even ask.
"He [Eboue] should have communicated with the people who were dealing with it and settled it when he had the opportunity.
"I don't know how much his current agent knew about this. We didn't know it had gone to the Court of Arbitration for Sport."