The Liverpool scandal, if proven true (and of course all I have is newspaper reports to go on, and the occasional word from a supplier of information which is generally right but which I can’t verify), is one in which Liverpool signed a player under 13 and told his parents they would pay his school fees at a private school. Then they said they were not going to do that.
Now one version of the story is that Liverpool “didn’t realise” that they were not allowed to do this unless they made it a policy for all youngsters in their training camp. Another is that they did realise and thought they could get away with it because “everyone gets away with it”.
The first version shows Liverpool to be grossly incompetent. They have a big academy. They have a big academy staff. They have agents, financial advisers and tax officials. AND THEY DIDN’T REALISE? The average PL club employs around 350 people directly, but then also has half a dozen other companies handling specialist areas. AND THEY STILL DIDN’T REALISE?????????
The second version shows them to be downright crooks; they did realise but carried on anyway.. Either way it seems to be having quite a negative impact on parents who are thinking of shipping their young sons off to the tender mercies of Liverpool (again according to an unverified source). Interest level has gone right down.
The excuse Liverpool offer is that they didn’t realise the rules changed last year, which is still grossly incompetent. But the effects of this incompetence or attempt to bend the rules are rebounding on the young lad not Liverpool. As the Guardian says, “He now cannot sign for another club until Stoke have received a compensation fee of £49,000 from Liverpool and, in the meantime, the parents have been left liable for school fees that are believed to run into thousands.”
And would you like to read another twist in the “incompetent or crooked?” debate. This again from the Guardian.
“The Premier League, ironically, is also investigating a complaint from Liverpool over the departure of one of their academy players to Manchester City.”
It is also somewhat interesting that Untold has covered this story before, and explored the rules before. So if Liverpool FC had actually read Untold, they might have realised that the rules had changed. Still, never mind. I am sure the FA will let them off.
Cos that’s what they do.