Everton handed two-year academy transfer ban
Everton were yesterday given a two-year academy transfer ban after admitting tapping up seven schoolboys and lying about it to the Premier League.
The club were also fined £500,000 for what was the most flagrant breach yet of the rules on the transfer of minors.
Everton, who join Liverpool and Manchester City in being banned from signing schoolboys, issued a formal apology for their conduct and announced they had already commenced a “full review” of their academy operations.
Their head of academy recruitment, Martin Waldron, remained suspended last night following allegations he directed the illicit activity which prompted a Premier League inquiry.
That investigation was exclusively revealed by The Daily Telegraph in September, a month after the league received a letter – a copy of which was also sent to this newspaper – containing detailed accusations about Waldron’s alleged tapping up of a schoolboy who now plays for Manchester United.
Everton admitted the claims and, after setting up their own internal probe, also acknowledged similar breaches in relation to six other academy players.
They even confessed to having provided false information to the Premier League when questions had been raised previously about their recruitment of schoolboys.
As well as being fined and banned from signing any academy player registered with another Premier League or Football League club in the preceding 18 months, Everton were ordered to pay compensation to the former teams of two youngsters they had tapped up, one of which is Birmingham City.
Everton said in a statement: “We are extremely disappointed with some of the practices we have found, which are not in line with our values and not acceptable to Everton Football Club.
“Accordingly, we have accepted the penalties imposed on us by the Premier League and have given them our strongest apologies.
“We have already commenced a full review of our academy operations and are committed to ensuring that issues like this do not happen again at Everton.”
The letter sent to the Premier League and The Telegraph, which exclusively chronicled last year’s Liverpool tapping-up scandal, accused Waldron of tapping up a Cardiff City schoolboy and his family “towards the end of his under-11 year or early in the under-12 year”. It claimed the boy was offered a place at a school as well as “full costs paid for a rented house and a family allowance cash payment of £600 per month”. It alleged the transfer collapsed after Waldron was informed it would not comply with “international clearance rules”, leaving the boy “in limbo”.
The Merseysiders had been one of the victims of tapping up by north-west rivals City, who were last year handed a two-year academy transfer ban – the second year of which was suspended for three years – over their recruitment of two schoolboys.
Everton were already facing an independent inquiry into their recruitment of manager Marco Silva amid a bitter dispute with his former club, Watford.
Waldron did not respond last night to requests for comment.