Everton banned for two years from signing academy players after being found guilty of tapping up Cardiff schoolboy
Everton have been banned for two years from signing academy players and hit with a £500,000 fine after being found guilty of tapping up a Cardiff City schoolboy.
A formal announcement is believed to be imminent after a Premier League investigation into the case, which relates to an episode in 2016.
Everton suspended their head of academy recruitment, Martin Waldron, when they began conducting their own internal investigation in September.
A decision on the future of Waldron, who has worked for the club for more than two decades and whose son, Joel, was appointed academy director in the summer, is now expected.
The punishment means Everton cannot sign players from the age of ten effectively up to 18.
The case resulted from an anonymous tip-off to the Premier League and centred upon an approach to the schoolboy towards the end of his under-11 or start of his under-12 year when Cardiff were in the Sky Bet Championship.
But Everton’s interest later collapsed and the boy was left in limbo. He has since joined Manchester United.
A statement from Everton read: “Everton has worked alongside the Premier League over recent weeks to conduct a full and thorough investigation into allegations relating to our academy’s operational methods in some areas of player recruitment.
“In short, 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.”
In recent seasons, Liverpool and Manchester City have both been banned from signing academy players, but their sanctions were less severe with the second year of their bans suspended. Everton’s ban will last fully two years, while their fine is greater than the £100,000 which Liverpool were hit with and the £300,000 City were ordered to pay.
A statement from the Premier League said: “The Premier League received evidence alleging that Everton academy staff offered inducements to a player and his family to encourage the player to register with the club. When presented with this information, Everton immediately admitted the allegations and set up its own internal inquiry which established that similar misconduct had occurred in relation to six other Academy players.
“In certain cases, it was found that the club provided false information to the league when questions had previously been raised about the circumstances in which academy players registered with the club. The club will [as well as the fine and ban] also pay additional compensation payments to the former clubs of two academy players.”