Fulham fined, handed academy registration ban over Fabio Carvalho transfer

Fulham have been handed a suspended six-month ban from registering academy players and fined £75,000 after accepting they breached Premier League rules regarding settlement payments made to a grassroots club over former player Fabio Carvalho.

Carvalho, who joined Liverpool in the summer of 2022 and is currently on loan at Hull City, spent three years at Balham FC, formerly known as Balham Blazers FC, before joining Fulham’s academy in 2014. As a result of leaving Balham for Fulham, the west London club entered into a ‘heads of terms’ agreement with the amateur side in October 2015, which is not permitted under Premier League rules.

This agreement entitled Balham Blazers to compensation after Carvalho made his first-team debut, which came against Southampton in May 2021, and then again following his transfer to Liverpool in 2022, which saw Fulham agree to a settlement deal worth £5million (now $6.3m), plus £2.7m in add-ons in addition to a 20 per cent sell-on clause.

Balham FC are not regarded as a ‘transferor club’, as defined by Premier League regulations, and rules do not permit payment of any sums to Balham unless “otherwise agreed by the (Premier League) board”. Fulham sought Premier League approval for the agreement but this was rejected in December 2022 and then again in January 2024.


Carvalho joined Fulham’s academy in 2014 before leaving the club in 2022 (Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)

Fulham had previously alerted the English FA and the Football League (EFL) to the original agreement after discussions with Balham following Carvalho’s senior debut. Following guidance from the FA, a new compensation agreement was implemented in October 2021 between the clubs on the same, originally agreed terms. At the time, Fulham were in the Championship. This agreement was not sent to the Premier League.

Fulham have accepted that the payment of the settlement sum following Carvalho’s transfer to Liverpool was in breach of Premier League rules and also provided the league with details of another agreement with Dartford FC relating to winger Martial Godo, who is currently on loan at Wigan Athletic. The club have accepted any payment to Dartford under this other agreement would also be a breach of the rules.

Fulham’s ban from registering academy players from other teams is suspended for a year and would come into force if the club were to breach the same rule again within that period.

The ban applies to academy players who have been registered in the preceding 18 months with another Premier League or EFL club, between the age groups of under 9 to under 18. It does not prevent the club from registering players on professional terms. The suspended ban came into force on April 15.

Fulham have declined to comment.

(Jacques Feeney/Getty Images)

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