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Liverpool Banned from Signing Youth Players

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The Reds have been barred from signing academy players for a year and fined £100k over Stoke City incident.

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Following charges that Liverpool had tapped-up a promising Stoke City 11-year-old by offering to pay his schooling fees if he made the switch only to then back out of the deal when it became clear that offer was against Premier League regulations and leaving the player in limbo, the club have been barred from signing academy players.

Officially, it's a two-year ban, but with the second year suspended barring any further malfeasance by the club, meaning that functionally Liverpool will be stopped from signing any youth players from other English clubs for the next year. They have also been handed a £100k fine. Liverpool will not challenge the decision.

The ruling won't prevent the club signing senior players, or youth players at other English clubs on senior contracts, or youth players from abroad when the rules would otherwise allow them to do so. As such, it is a punishment that seems more about the optics than about actual punishment; the proverbial slap on the wrist.

"Liverpool have cooperated with the Premier League's inquiries in a timely and thorough manner and admitted the rule breaches asserted against them," read the league's statement. "The club will pay a fine and will be prohibited from registering any academy players who have been registered with a Premier League or EFL club in the preceding 18 months.

"This ban will last for two years, with the second year suspended for a three-year period (to be activated in the event of any further similar breach by the club). The Premier League will make no further comment on this matter."

A similar case involving Manchester City's attempts to poach a Liverpool academy youngster remains open and ongoing, and in the meantime, the young player Liverpool tried to sign from Stoke remains in limbo as he cannot play for another club until Stoke City receive a £50k payment for his release last summer.