Exclusive: Liverpool tapping-up row intensifies with Stoke chairman also seeking compensation

John Percy
Peter Coates is planning legal action against Liverpool - Jane Mingay

The fallout from the Liverpool tapping-up ban intensified on Thursday night after the chairman of Stoke City revealed he was pursuing compensation over the matter.

Peter Coates confirmed he was seeking reparations from the Premier League over the loss of one of his club’s best schoolboys after Liverpool became the first side to be sanctioned for making an illegal approach to an academy player since the introduction of a new system for policing such moves last year. 

The Anfield side were banned from signing schoolboy players for at least a year – with a second year suspended – and fined £100,000.

As exclusively revealed by Telegraph Sport earlier this week, Liverpool were also facing legal action from the parents of the boy, who were left in thousands of pounds of debt after the club reneged on a promise to pay his school fees.

Those were being covered by Stoke prior to them striking a deal with Liverpool that would see them receive £49,000 in compensation for the four-year investment they put into the youngster’s footballing and academic education.

But a Premier League rule-change on the payment of school fees caused the move to collapse and left the boy unable to join another academy until Stoke are paid.

Coates told the Telegraph: “We think we have a case of compensation and are pursuing it. We’re seeing what can be done because we’re disappointed with it.

“I’m not having a go at Liverpool because, unfortunately, they are not alone. It happens and sometimes they get caught.

“But we’re disappointed with the Premier League for allowing the system to be changed, because this would never happen under the old rules.”

Liverpool's academy last month Credit: Getty images

Coates suggested that those rules prevented players being poached without their parent club’s consent.

He said: “One of the reasons we became a Category One club was due to the rules that there was no movement between clubs – in other words, you couldn’t poach from other academies without consent or an agreement.

“It brings stability and stops all these things happening, like inducements to families, and the game would be healthier for it.”

Darren Gray, head of commercial litigation at Manchester law firm Clear Commercial, who represents the family along with media consultant Jonathan Hartley, said: “The one issue that isn’t being addressed in this whole sorry saga is that a schoolboy has been left unable to pursue his dream of playing professional football.

“If Stoke City Football Club does receive this money then, in my view, it would be morally obliged to release the 13-year-old from any obligations owed to them and encumbrances held over him in order to enable him to continue to pursue his career.

“The Premier League has, perhaps unintentionally, created a system that has prevented a schoolboy from playing football for a club. That’s a terrible reflection on the organisation and not one they can just ignore.”

The Premier League declined to comment on Coates’s complaint about a rule change that was enacted at the request of its member clubs or his compensation demand.

It introduced a new five-step process for ratifying academy moves following mounting concerns about the poaching of youngsters within the division.

One of those steps involves parents and clubs signing a declaration that no inducements have been offered for a schoolboy to switch allegiance, with the Premier League able to demand the phone records of all involved if it has any suspicions to the contrary.

Another case it is looking into relates to a grievance Liverpool had last summer about one of their own schoolboys joining Manchester City.

premier league free transfers

By using Yahoo you agree that Yahoo and partners may use Cookies for personalisation and other purposes