Liverpool handed two-year ban from signing academy players

(Reuters) - Liverpool have been given a two-year ban from signing academy players and fined 100,000 pounds for breaching rules governing the transfer of youth players, the Premier League said on Wednesday.

The second year of the ban, which prevents the club from signing any academy players who have been registered with other Premier League or English Football League clubs in the previous 18 months, is suspended for three years.

A league investigation found Liverpool guilty of offering prohibited inducements in an attempt to recruit a schoolboy from Stoke City.

"The League found evidence demonstrating regular communications between representatives of the club and members of the player's family," the league said in a statement on its website. (www.premierleague.com)

"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 attempted to register the player last September, but the application was turned down by the Premier League board because the Merseyside club had offered to pay the boy's private school fees.

This was a breach of newly-introduced rules which say a benefit can only be offered if it is applicable to all youth players across the club's academy and this was not the case.

(Reporting by Simon Jennings in Bengaluru; Editing by Toby Davis)

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