Manchester United and Everton could face huge fines or even points deductions if found guilty, says News of the World.
Premier League spokesman Dan Johnson told the newspaper: “We will be contacting both clubs as a matter of urgency to find out what has gone on.
“As Howard’s is a permanent transfer there is no reason why he could not have played against Manchester United.
“Had such a clause been included in the transfer we would not have allowed it – it would have been a clear case of third party interference.
“We certainly have no record of an agreement between Everton and United that Howard could not play on April 28.”