Bayer Leverkusen say FIFA cleared Lucas Alario to play for club

LEVERKUSEN, Germany -- Bayer Leverkusen say they have been cleared to play Argentine striker Lucas Alario by FIFA.

The Bundesliga club said in a statement on Thursday: "FIFA ruled ... that the denial of playing rights for the Argentina national team player by his former club River Plate and the Argentine soccer association [AFA] was not valid. So nothing remains in the way of the forward's appearance for Leverkusen."

The AFA previously refused clearance for the 24-year-old Alario to join from River Plate despite Leverkusen's payment of his release clause.

River Plate contended the transfer was invalid as Leverkusen paid the release clause of €23.8 million ($28.6m) on Aug. 31, after the Argentine season began, which it claimed was against FIFA rules.

Leverkusen then took the case to FIFA.