Liverpool paid Premier League title rivals Manchester City £1m to settle ‘spy’ claims
A confidential settlement saw Liverpool pay Manchester City £1million after the Premier League champions made a complaint that their scouting system had been hacked into.
The Times write the agreement was struck in September 2013 when it was reported the Reds’ Premier League rivals had employed computer-espionage experts to see if the system had been spied on.
The newspaper note the settlement was agreed without Liverpool or the accused individuals accepting any liability or wrongdoing and the allegations and information on which they were based were never tested in court, while it came a year after three former City scouts moved to Liverpool.
Two of them, as well as Michael Edwards who is now Liverpool’s sporting director, were alleged by City to have been involved in unlawfully accessing their database on the Scout7 system on hundreds of occasions over an eight-month period from June 2012 to February 2013.
The two scouts alleged to have been involved in accessing City’s Scout7 system were Dave Fallows, now Liverpool’s head of recruitment, and Julian Ward, who was Liverpool’s European scouting manager for Spain and Portugal and is now the loan pathways and football partnerships manager.
“This makes Marcelo Bielsa sending a scout to peer over training-ground fences, for which Leeds United were fined £200,000 in February, look amateur, old-school and relatively small fry,” Times journalist Matt Dickinson wrote.
City declined to comment when contacted by The Times. Liverpool said it was unable to respond in the time available and would not comment on confidential club matters.
It is thought that concerns were first raised when City discovered Liverpool were interested Paolo Fernandes, a Real Zaragoza youth player. Then 21, the midfielder signed for City in 2017 and is on loan at Perugia.
Liverpool currently have a five-point lead over Man City in the Premier League.
They have lost just one of their last 44 league matches, taking 115 points from a possible 132.