FIFA clear Modeste to play for Cologne despite Tianjin dispute

French striker Antony Modeste was on Thursday given permission to play for German second division side Cologne, despite his on-going legal dispute with Chinese club Tianjin Tianhai FC.

Antony Modeste

Football’s governing body FIFA told Cologne that Modeste can play for them, even though Tianjin had protested after the Frenchman walked out on the Chinese Super League club last year over unpaid salary.

“The Chinese FA, with the approval from his former club Tianjin Tianhai, has granted Tony the right to play,” said Cologne’s managing director Alexander Wehrle.

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“Tony is finally able to play football again. That’s the most important thing

“Obviously we’re happy about the fact that we won’t just be able to see his qualities in training in the future, but that he is available to play for us.”

After two seasons with the Chinese club, Modeste walked out on Tianjin in 2018, citing a lack of pay, and late last year signed a new contract until 2023 with his former club Cologne, for whom he scored 25 goals in 34 league games in 2016/17.

However, FIFA ruled in January that Modeste’s switch to Cologne was invalid after the matter was brought before their Dispute Resolution Chamber, but the burly striker has now been given permission to play in Germany’s second division.

However, Modeste must still resolve the legal issue with Tianjin, which the German club “is not part of”, said Cologne in a statement.