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Liverpool Admit Guilt in Dempsey Tapping Up Case

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As part of an agreement with Fulham that sees the London club drop their complaint of tapping up with the Premier League, Liverpool have admitted the manner in which they chased Clint Dempsey over the summer was unacceptable.

Chris Brunskill

It was hardly a secret over the summer that Liverpool was trying to sign Clint Dempsey from Fulham. It was also hardly a secret that Fulham was bothered by the manner in which Liverpool was attempting to sign Clint Dempsey, with the London club slapping a special "Liverpool-only" price on him in response as the player agitated for his hoped-for move to Anfield.

When the window closed, then, it was little surprise that Dempsey didn't end up at Liverpool after all. His move might have seemed a foregone conclusion when August began, but by the time it ended it had become just as clear that Fulham was incensed by events and would rather send the player almost anywhere else on principle.

As such, it was hardly a surprise, too, when shortly after the window's closing Fulham lodged an official complaint with the league over Liverpool's pursuit of Dempsey. Today, however, they have decided to withdraw that complaint, leaving Liverpool clear of the tapping up charges the Premier League was investigating.

"Fulham can confirm," began a statement on Fulham's official website, "that it has today withdrawn the complaint made against Liverpool FC in regard to the Merseyside club’s inappropriate actions surrounding interest in Clint Dempsey over the summer.

"Liverpool’s Chairman Tom Werner apologised personally to Mohamed Al Fayed, stating that his club were wholly responsible for unprofessional behaviour toward Fulham and emphasised his regret for the entire episode."

Werner met with Fulham owner Mohamed Fayed last week to apologise for the manner in which Liverpool had courted Dempsey over the summer, and the result was Fayed signalling his willingness to drop the formal complaint of tapping up they had lodged.

According to the Independent, managing director Ian Ayre followed up on Werner's meeting with Fayed by sending a further conciliatory letter that called the Fulham owner's willingness to forgive Liverpool's attempt to unsettle Dempsey magnanimous and praised him for, amongst other things, "his ability to place the best interests of the game ahead of an intramural dispute between clubs."

As a result, Fayed decided "that this sincere action was enough, and as a gesture of goodwill, instructed that all complaints against them be dropped."

With details of the dealings between senior members of the two clubs leaking out late on Tuesday and Fulham releasing an official statement on the matter today, it is expected that Liverpool will soon follow with an official statement of their own admitting their actions were wrong and shouldn't have occurred in order to complete the process that has now seen Fulham agree to drop their complaint.