Liverpool 'tried to get player's father to lie' in poaching probe
Liverpool tried to cover up their tapping-up of an 11-year-old boy by instructing his father to lie to Premier League investigators, according to shocking new allegations about their conduct.
The lengths to which one of the world's most famous clubs were allegedly prepared to go to conceal forbidden inducements made to a Stoke City schoolboy and his family have been laid bare following an investigation into the events which saw the Liverpool become the first to be punished under strict new Premier League rules.
The saga also left the youngster's parents in thousands of pounds of debt and the boy unable to join another academy until Stoke are paid £49,000.
The inducements allegedly offered by Liverpool included all-expenses-paid trips to tournaments in Paris and Denmark, £50 cash in hand every time the boy went for training at their academy, and even money to help his father replace a faulty car exhaust.
It can also be disclosed that during a meeting with the elder son of the family, which he recorded on his mobile phone, Liverpool told him the club were willing to pay a £5,000 debt incurred in school fees but were unable to do so while his parents pursued a formal complaint against them.
The Premier League announced last week that Liverpool had been banned from signing schoolboy players for at least 12 months and fined £100,000 over a pursuit of the boy his family alleges was led by the club's head of pre-academy recruitment and player retention, Ian Barrigan, for nearly two years.
The sanction followed an investigation triggered when the boy's parents pulled out of a deal with Liverpool following a rule change that prevented the club honouring a pledge to pay his tuition fees if he joined them.
The Premier League found Liverpool to have funded an all-expenses-paid trip for the youngster and his family to a match at Anfield and made "other efforts" to encourage him to leave Stoke.
The boy's family claim that Liverpool told the boy's father last September not to disclose the tapping-up or inducements when interviewed by a lawyer acting on behalf of the Premier League.
Liverpool refused to confirm which of the allegations against him Barrigan accepted or denied but said not all the claims and/or the way they had been presented were complained of by the family during the Premier League investigation.
The Premier League yesterday declined to comment on any aspect of the Liverpool case beyond its statement of last week. (© Daily Telegraph, London)