Saturday 23 September 2017

Liverpool handed academy transfer ban over attempts to sign Stoke youngster

Liverpool have been handed an academy transfer ban
Liverpool have been handed an academy transfer ban

Liverpool have been handed an academy transfer ban and ordered to pay £100,000 after admitting their part in the 'tapping up' of a Stoke youngster.

The Premier League have announced the club will be prohibited from signing any academy players who have been registered with a Premier League or EFL club in the preceding 18 months.

Although the ban is for two years the second 12 months has been suspended for a three-year period and will only be activated in the event of any further similar breach by the club.

A brief statement from Liverpool said: "The club accepts the sanction."

The case involves forbidden inducements offered to a 12-year-old at Stoke and whom Liverpool accept they spoke to before they should have and also paid for him and some of his family to attend a game at Anfield.

Liverpool also offered to pay the player's school fees, which were being paid by Stoke at this time, but this was a breach of newly-introduced regulations which state a benefit can only be offered if it is applicable to all youngsters across the club's academy and this was not the case.

It is understood Liverpool offered to pay these fees because Stoke were already doing so and had every intention of signing the youngster - contrary to claims they reneged on the deal and walked away - until the Premier League stepped in as result of their interpretation of rule 299.1 and specifically relating to the payment of the player's school fees.

Rule 299.1 states: "no club shall induce or attempt to induce a player to become registered as an academy player by that club by offering him, or any person connected with him, either directly or indirectly, a benefit or payment of any description whether in cash or in kind".

It is understood the registration process and Liverpool's transparency and openness on the school fees issues is what has ultimately led to the investigation and sanction.

The Premier League ruling stated: "The club will pay a fine of £100,000 and will be prohibited from registering any academy players who have been registered with a Premier League or EFL club in the preceding 18 months.

"This ban will last for two years, with the second year suspended for a three-year period (to be activated in the event of any further similar breach by the club)."

The Premier League made clear Liverpool had co-operated fully and had even agreed satisfactory recompense with Stoke for the youngster's move.

"An application by Liverpool in September 2016 to register him, following Liverpool and Stoke agreeing compensation, was rejected by the Premier League Board due to an offer to pay the player's private school fees," added the statement.

"In an investigation following that rejection, the Premier League found evidence demonstrating regular communications between representatives of the club and members of the player's family.

"This included hosting them at Anfield for a match with expenses paid and other efforts to encourage the player, via his family, to sign for Liverpool. League rules strictly prohibit the offer of any inducements to encourage a move.

"Liverpool have cooperated with the Premier League's inquiries in a timely and thorough manner and admitted the rule breaches asserted against them."

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