Everton have been banned from signing players aged 10 to 18 for two years and fined £500,000 after breaking the Premier League's tapping up rules.
An investigation after an anonymous tip off into claims Everton had offered inducements to a Cardiff City youngster in 2016 resulted in several other instances in which the Goodison Park club had illegally approached youngsters coming to light. Unlike Liverpool and Manchester City, who have also been hit with two-year academy transfer bans, the severity of Everton's case means the second year will not be suspended. Everton did not follow up their interest in the young player.
The Merseyside club were also fined £500,000 for what was the most flagrant breach yet of the world's richest league's rules on the transfer of minors.
Everton released a statement in response in which they said they had cooperated with all of the Premier League's investigations."Everton has worked alongside the Premier League over recent weeks to conduct a full and thorough investigation into allegations relating to our Academy's operational methods in some areas of player recruitment", the statement read.
The club said they were "extremely disappointed with some of the practices we have found which are not in line with our values".
Everton admitted the initial allegation and the club's internal inquiry established that similar misconduct had occurred in relation to six other academy players. Accordingly, we have accepted the penalties imposed on us by the Premier League and have given them our strongest apologies.
Everton will not be allowed to recruit any academy player who has registered with another Premier League or Football League club in the preceding 18 months.
"We have already commenced a full review of our academy operations and are committed to ensuring that issues like this do not happen again at Everton".
Marco Silva's side face Chelsea at Stamford Bridge in the Premier League this weekend.