Manchester United’s Gabriel Heinze has lost his attempt to force the club to allow him to move to rivals Liverpool.
United disputed claims from Heinze, 29, who said the Red Devils gave him written permission to pursue a transfer to another club for a fee of £6.8m.
The matter was referred to a Premier League arbitration panel, reports bbc news online.
The hearing concluded that the written letter Heinze possessed “was unambiguous in that it envisages only an international transfer”.
United manager Sir Alex Ferguson and chief executive David Gill travelled to Monday’s hearing to put their case.
The Old Trafford side said they did not want to sell Heinze to a Premier League rival.
They said they made it clear to the defender both orally and in writing that he would not be allowed to join one of their title competitors.
Transfers between the two north-west rivals are rare, and the last player to move from United to Liverpool was Phil Chisnal in 1962.
Heinze has the right to appeal against the decision, although with the transfer window due to shut on 31 August, he is short of time if he wants to leave Old Trafford.
Any appeal will be heard by the Premier League’s appeals committee.