Fulham in hot water over deal for Liverpool prospect

Fulham have found themselves in hot water after the Premier League found them guilty of a rule breach as a result of Fabio Carvalho's move to Liverpool.

The club has been handed down a suspended six-month ban on registering academy players, plus a fine of £75,000.

This decision was made after Fulham acknowledged breaching Premier League regulations concerning settlement payments to a grassroots club.

Payments not approved by the Premier League

Carvalho, currently shining on loan at Hull City after joining Liverpool in 2022, spent three formative years at Balham FC (formerly Balham Blazers FC) before joining Fulham’s academy in 2014.

As reported in The Athletic, the breach occurred when Fulham entered a 'heads of terms' agreement with Balham in October 2015, entitling the amateur side to compensation upon Carvalho's senior debut and subsequent transfer.

According to Premier League rules, such agreements with non-transferor clubs are not permitted unless approved by the league board.

Despite Fulham's attempts to seek approval, their submissions were rejected twice, first in December 2022 and then again in January 2024.

Prior knowledge

The West London club had previously informed the English FA and the Football League (EFL) about the original agreement with Balham following Carvalho’s debut.

Subsequently, a new compensation agreement was reached in October 2021, following FA guidance.

However, this was not disclosed to the Premier League and Fulham accepted that the payment made to Balham upon Carvalho’s transfer to Liverpool was in violation of Premier League rules.

Additionally, they revealed another agreement with Dartford FC concerning winger Martial Godo, currently on loan at Wigan Athletic, which also breached league regulations.

The suspended ban imposed on Fulham prohibits the registration of academy players from other clubs for a year. However, this sanction would only be activated if Fulham were to breach the same rule within that period.

However, it does not affect the registration of players on professional terms.

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