Liverpool have been handed a two-year academy transfer ban and fined £100,000 for an illegal approach on a Stoke City youngster.
In a statement on Wednesday afternoon, the Premier League confirmed the sanctions against the Merseysiders in relation to the enticement of the 11-year-old to join the Liverpool youth team in September 2016. Despite Liverpool and Stoke agreeing on a compensation package, the club offering to pay the boy’s school fees was seen as a breach of regulations, and as such Liverpool have been penalised:
“In an investigation following that rejection, the Premier League found evidence that Liverpool’s conduct prior to applying to register the player contravened League rules.
“The 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.
“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).”
Liverpool, who accept the sanction, have been found guilty of speaking to the player and/or his family prematurely and of offering inducements, including paying for the boy and family members to attend a game at Anfield.
Liverpool insist they would have signed and registered the boy but for the Premier League’s interpretation of rule 299.1 and a new ruling, introduced last summer, that states the offer of private education must be extended to all academy players.
Stoke, who did not file a complaint, were paying the boy’s school fees when Liverpool made their approach, prompting the Anfield club to offer to do the same.
The ban, while a disruption to Liverpool’s youth setup, does not affect the first team in any way – that is to say that any young players signed this summer would be free to register with club as long as they do so with Jurgen Klopp’s senior side. Nor does it prevent the Reds from signing free agents – the ban only applies to youngsters registered with other clubs.
The player in question, meanwhile, remains in limbo with the Telegraph reporting that it would cost almost £50,000 to but out his registration at Stoke City, whom he has since left.