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Sep 8, 2009

Leeds urge action after tribunal sets Everton fee

Leeds United have called on English football's governing bodies to consider imposing points deductions on clubs that take talented youngsters from the lower leagues, following the news that Everton have been ordered to pay an initial £600,000 for 16-year-old Luke Garbutt.

The defender, who has represented England at youth level, joined Everton from the Yorkshire side over the summer and a tribunal of the Professional Football Negotiating and Consultative Committee ordered the Premier League club to pay the fee on Tuesday, with the deal potentially rising to over £1.5m if further conditions are met.

The news comes at a time when the issue of youth player recruitment is firmly in the spotlight following the FIFA punishment handed to Chelsea as a result of their signing of Gael Kakuta, and subsequent allegations directed at Manchester United and Manchester City.

Indeed, Leeds chairman Ken Bates attacked the conduct of bigger clubs in an interview over the weekend, claiming that young players were being "traded like horsemeat".

Now Leeds chief executive Shaun Harvey has urged the custodians of the game to increase the potential punishments awaiting bigger clubs in an effort to ensure that lower league sides are able to retain their brightest prospects.

"The compensation package payable is significant, but not high enough to prevent future clubs from making a signing in similar circumstances," said Harvey following the Garbutt decision.

"If we had have had an option we would have chosen to keep the player. We feel we were deprived of the opportunity to develop the player to his full potential.

"We now appeal to the football authorities to mount a combined review of the registration system in place domestically to provide further financial assurances for clubs who lose players to predator clubs. Compensation awards, we feel, are no longer a sufficient deterrent and perhaps now is the time to start considering points deductions.

"We need to arrive at a system whereby in any transfer there is a willing buyer, willing seller and willing player. Until we reach that position there will always be a dissatisfied party.''

Aside from an initial payment of £600,000, Everton must also pay Leeds an extra £150,000 if the player makes five, 10, 20, 30 and 40 appearances for the club, as well as a payment of £200,000 if he makes a full international appearance.

Everton's academy manager Ray Hall said: "This is very much a transfer for the future for Everton. It's not an uncommon move to make - many Premier League clubs invest in young talent with a view to nurturing and developing them.

"We are all delighted to have Luke at the club. He is an excellent prospect and he will be allowed to mature and learn his trade with our Academy staff and players.

"I know the manager (David Moyes) will be keeping an eye on his progress, as he does with all our boys, and if he looks ready to make the next step up then he may get his chance.

"We have shown as a club on a regular basis that we are prepared to give youngsters an opportunity at Everton.''

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