Liverpool under investigation for alleged tapping up of Stoke City schoolboy star
Liverpool are under investigation for allegedly tapping up and offering a forbidden inducement to a Stoke City schoolboy.
The Anfield side are also accused of reneging on an agreement to pay the youngster’s school fees, leaving his parents – who pulled out of a deal with the club as a result – in thousands of pounds of debt.
To compound the family’s woes, the unnamed boy cannot now play for another team until Stoke receive a compensation fee of almost £50,000.
An investigation into the claims was launched earlier this year by the Premier League, which had already been looking into allegations related to a grievance Liverpool had about one of their own schoolboys joining Manchester City.
Both of the controversial transfers date back to last summer, when Liverpool allegedly tapped up a 12-year-old considered to be one of Stoke’s best youngsters.
Stoke had been paying the boy’s school fees as part of a contract signed by his parents, who wanted Liverpool to do the same.
Liverpool are alleged to have agreed to do so until the player turned 16, breaching a rule introduced around that time forbidding the practice unless a club offers to pay for all the schoolchildren on their books to be educated privately.
It is claimed that, on learning of this, Liverpool refused to honour their commitment, leaving the player’s parents liable for thousands of pounds in fees.
Stoke would have continued to pay those fees had the boy not moved to Anfield – even if his former club had released him.
The youngster’s footballing future was also left in limbo because of a controversial rule that prevents him playing for another team until Stoke are paid £49,000 in compensation.
A source with knowledge of the Premier League investigation said: “This is a shocking example of how children in Premier League football are being used and abused.
“This kid has done nothing wrong at all but he’s been left out in the cold and his parents are having to foot the bill for private education that they can’t afford.
“The whole thing is a total disgrace. Everyone at the top of the Premier League and both football clubs are fully aware of what has gone on, and it is something that must be stamped out of the game.
“Everyone knows how children’s lives and education are being ruined with the promise of football riches and it needs to stop.”
Telegraph Sport revealed last year that children as young as 10 were being frozen out of the English’s game’s academy system because of compensation fees parents were unwittingly signing up to.
The Premier League declined to comment on its investigation into Liverpool, one of a handful it is understood to be conducting into alleged breaches of its rules on the transfer of academy players.
It was forced to introduce a new five-step process for ratifying such moves following mounting concerns about the poaching of youngsters within the division.
One of those steps involves parents and clubs signing a declaration that no inducements have been offered for a schoolboy to switch allegiance, with the Premier League able to demand the phone records of all involved if it has any suspicions to the contrary.
It was unclear on Wednesday evening what sanction Liverpool would face if found guilty of breaching what are recently revamped regulations.
They and Stoke declined to comment on the investigation, the tapping-up allegation or the row over the school and compensation fees.