Anfield

Liverpool banned from signing academy players for a year

LIVERPOOL have been banned from signing academy players from other clubs for at least a year after being found to have tapped up a 12-year-old Stoke City player and offered both him and his family inducements.

The Anfield side admitted making an illegal approach to the youngster in September last year and arranging expenses and tickets to a first-team match for him and his family.

Liverpool had also offered to take over the boy’s school fees, which Stoke were paying at the time.

They withdrew the offer after realising there was a Premier League rule prohibiting the practice unless every academy player was offered the same opportunity.

This led to the boy’s parents making a formal complaint against Liverpool once the offer was withdrawn.

The Premier League banned Liverpool from signing any academy players registered with a Premier League or EFL club within the previous 18 months as well as fining the club £100,000.

The ban will be extended by a further year if Liverpool commit another breach before 2020. In a statement, Liverpool said: “The club accepts the sanction.”

Liverpool made an application to register the Stoke City Academy player in September 2016 and compensation was agreed.

But the Premier League Board rejected the application after discovering that an offer had been made to pay the player’s private school fees.

An investigation by the Premier League then discovered that Liverpool had spoken to the player and his family before they should have - known as ‘tapping him up’ - and also had also given an inducement by paying for him and some of his family to attend a match at Anfield.

Premier League rules ban the offer of any inducements to encourage Academy players to move.

Parents and clubs are required to sign a declaration that no inducements have been offered to a schoolboy to switch clubs. The Premier League is even able to demand the phone records of parties if there are suspicions to the contrary.

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