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Oct, 6, 2009

Wolves accuse rivals Bolton in tapping-up row

Wolverhampton Wanderers have made an official complaint to both the Premier League and the Football Association after accusing Premier League rivals Bolton Wanderers of making an illegal approach for an academy player.

The complaint, confirmed by the club on Tuesday morning, relates to the departure of defender Mark Connolly who moved from Molineux to the Reebok Stadium on transfer deadline day.

A fee reported to be £400,000 and rising to £1.25 million was agreed between the two clubs to avoid taking the transfer to a tribunal but it has emerged that Wolves were deeply unhappy with the conduct of their top-flight counterparts.

Now the promoted club allege that the Trotters made an illegal approach for Connolly, who has represented Republic of Ireland at Under-19 level, pointing the finger at former Wolves academy boss Chris Evans who is currently assistant to Gary Megson at Bolton.

"We have lodged an official letter of complaint, supported by considerable amounts of documentary evidence, with both the Premier League and the FA," Wolves chief executive Jez Moxey told the club's official website. "The complaint relates to Bolton Wanderers and their assistant manager Chris Evans, a former Wolves employee.

"We allege that there has been a breach of the Premier League and FA rules in place to protect a club's academy programme, maintain player contract stability and prevent illegal approaches of players.

"It is not an issue about money or the level of compensation we received for a player we did not want to leave. It is about the protection of the club's academy programme and its development of young players, something which is of paramount importance to us at Wolves. We cannot sit on our hands and allow the events surrounding Mark Connolly's departure to pass unchallenged or unnoticed."

The issue of youth recruitment has been a contentious one in recent weeks, particularly in light of a FIFA transfer ban imposed on Chelsea for their acquisition of Gael Kakuta from Lens after the English club were adjudged to have induced the player to break his contract - a ruling they are appealing at the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

Bolton have responded by insisting they have yet to be approached by the authorities about the case.

"We are aware of the statement issued by Wolverhampton Wanderers but we have had no official contact from the Premier League or the Football Association and have no comment to make,'' a spokesman said.

A number of other cases involving prominent Premier League sides have since come to light but the Connolly complaint is something of a rarity involving as it does two top-flight clubs.

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