Everton have been banned from signing academy players for two years and fined £500,000 for breaching Premier League tapping-up rules.
The Toffees have been punishing following an investigation into the club’s pursuit of a schoolboy player while he played for Cardiff in 2016.
It’s the most severe punishment handed out by the Premier League in recent years, exceeding those dished out to Manchester City and Liverpool for similar offences.
The Daily Telegraph reported in September that Everton offered inducements to the player and his family in encourage him to sign for the club.
The deal subsequently collapsed, leaving the player’s career in limbo before Manchester United stepped in and signed the player.
Everton co-operated immediately with the investigation as well as launching an inquiry of their own, resulting in the suspension of head of academy recruitment Martin Waldron.
Premier League say Everton immediately admitted the allegations over Cardiff City schoolboy and set up its own internal inquiry which established that similar misconduct had occurred in relation to six other Academy players.— paul joyce (@_pauljoyce) November 8, 2018
The Times’ Paul Joyce reports that Everton’s investigation uncovered similar instances of misconduct in relation to six other academy players.
The club were even guilty of providing “false information” to the Premier League when previously asked about the signing of academy players.
In response to the ban, Everton released the following 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. We have accepted the penalties imposed on us by the Premier League and have given them our strongest apologies.
But how will this effect the Blues?
Well, Everton cannot sign any academy player who has been registered with another Premier League or EFL club in the preceding 18 months until November 2020. They will also pay additional compensation payments to the former clubs of two academy players.
It’s not going to hinder Marco Silva’s first-team plans any time soon, but Marcel Brands’ long-term recruitment strategy will have to be adjusted while academy boss David Unsworth will have to work with what he was.
Nathan Markelo, Lewis Gibson and Dennis Adeniran are three players who have joined Everton in the last 18 months who would be prevented from doing so under this ban.
The true impact of this punishment may not be felt for some time, when youngsters who could have moved to Goodison Park break into the first-team elsewhere.
The recruitment of underage players has come under scrutiny in recent years with clubs going to more and more extreme lengths to sign players for their academies.