Liverpool have been fined £100,000 and banned from signing academy players after admitting breaching Premier League rules.
The Premier League announced the punishment on Wednesday following an investigation that started with allegations that Liverpool had poached the promising 11-year-old from Stoke but reneged on an agreement to pay his fees at private school.
The boy’s parents pulled out of a deal with the Anfield club as a consequence and complained to the Premier League amid an allegation they have been left liable for thousands of pounds of school fees.
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
The ruling means Liverpool cannot sign players who have been registered to another Premier League or English Football League academy for two years. The second year of the ban is suspended for a three-year period.
The Premier League confirmed in a statement that it had “sanctioned Liverpool FC in respect of the club’s approaches towards, and offer of inducements to, an academy player registered with another club.
“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). The Premier League will make no further comment on this matter.”