Manchester City: Premier League punishes club with academy transfer ban
Manchester City have been banned from signing academy players for two years and fined £300,000 after breaching Premier League transfer rules.
Part of the ban – from 30 June 2018 – will only come into effect if the club reoffends in the next three years.
City were found to have approached the family of two young players who were registered with other clubs.
The ban applies to 10 to 18-year-olds registered with a Premier League or EFL club in the previous 18 months.
It follows a similar sanction for Liverpool, who in April were punished over a separate illegal approach.
Liverpool’s punishment related to their approach to a 12-year-old academy player at Stoke City in September last year.
It was reported in April that the Premier League was examining three signings by Manchester City’s academy, including an 11-year-old Everton midfielder and a 15-year-old from Wolverhampton Wanderers.
In each case, the academy player was conditionally registered with City while the Premier League’s investigation was ongoing.
As a result of the club’s breaches, the players’ registrations will be terminated, with no compensation rights retained by the club.
Premier League rules ban inducements from clubs to encourage a move.
City have declined to comment on the matter. It is understood they have promised to continue to pay the school fees of the children concerned throughout their education at comparable schools to the ones they would have gone to if they had stayed at the club.
They have also agreed to pay the relevant compensation for the players, which means they are free agents and can join any other club without it going to tribunal.
BBC Sport’s Simon Stone
Today’s news is an embarrassment to Manchester City, who have prided themselves on doing the right thing throughout Sheikh Mansour’s nine years as owner.
The £300,000 fine will not be too much of an inconvenience. The two-year ban on signing players who have been signed to a Premier League or EFL academy is more so, even if the punishment will only be in force for one year, with the remainder suspended.
However, even that is only a minor issue for a club that has reached the FA Youth Cup final for the past three seasons.
What it does say is the recruiting methods City have employed have not always been beyond reproach.
For a club who are intent on recruiting the best young players, in an area where there is intense competition from Manchester United, Liverpool and Everton, it is not the ideal negotiating tool.
It is understood City will not be appealing against this decision, which is essentially a case of the old-fashioned “tapping up” variety. The club approached the players concerned before they were supposed to.