Liverpool were facing legal action on Tuesday night from a schoolboy footballer after being banned from signing academy players for at least a year and fined £100,000 for tapping him up and offering him and his family forbidden inducements.
Telegraph Sport can reveal that the unnamed boy’s parents have instructed solicitors with a view to suing the club for reneging on a deal to pay his school fees and over other grievances they claim were not addressed by the unprecedented sanction which was handed down by the Premier League.
That punishment prevents Liverpool from signing until March next year any academy player who has spent 18 months at a rival club.
Should they be found guilty of a second breach before 2020, the Premier League will activate an additional one-year ban.
Yesterday’s sanction was not enough to satisfy the parents of the boy, who were left in thousands of pounds of debt in unpaid school fees by Liverpool’s attempt to poach him from Stoke City. It also left their son unable to join another academy until Stoke are paid almost £50,000 in compensation.
Darren Gray, head of commercial litigation at Manchester law firm Clear Commercial, which represents the family alongside media consultant Jonathan Hartley, said: “There are other allegations made by the family that have not been addressed by the Premier League or Liverpool Football Club. We are looking to pursue these matters.”
The Premier League punished Liverpool after they admitted making an illegal approach to the youngster and arranged expenses and tickets to a first-team game for him and his family. They said in a statement: “The club accepts the sanction.”
The controversy erupted after the boy’s parents made a formal complaint against Liverpool following a row over his school fees.
The Anfield side had promised to take over paying them from Stoke if he joined them but withdrew the offer upon discovering that breached a rule introduced in July prohibiting the practice by clubs unless they offer all their academy players the same opportunity.
The Premier League launched an investigation in January, the existence of which was exclusively revealed by The Telegraph last month, during which Liverpool’s tapping up of the youngster was also exposed. That probe was one of a handful it is understood the League has conducted into alleged breaches of its rules on the transfer of academy players.
It was forced to introduce a new five-step process for ratifying such 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.
Ironically, one of the other cases it is looking into relates to a grievance Liverpool had last summer about one of their own schoolboys joining Manchester City.