Brighton have been fined £366,600 by the FA after being found guilty of breaching agent regulations and misrepresenting financial transactions in relation to several transfers, including that of then club-record signing Mat Ryan.
The Australian international goalkeeper moved to the Amex Stadium from Valencia for a £5.2m fee in 2017 and went on to make 123 appearances for the club, playing a key role in keeping them in the Premier League for four seasons before joining Real Sociedad last year.
Brighton have been found guilty of misrepresenting Ryan’s transfer by breaching FA rule A3, which states that clubs should not ‘conceal or misrepresent the reality and/or substance of any matters in relation to a transaction.’
Brighton in a statement said they accepted the findings of an Independent Regulatory Commission for historic breaches of FA regulations.
Brighton are set to be fined £350,000 after being found guilty of misrepresenting financial transactions in relation to several transfers including Mathew Ryan (pictured) back in 2017
The misrepresentation is understood to relate to Brighton’s use of player intermediaries, with Ryan’s agent the former Middlesbrough striker Mikkel Beck being registered on the paperwork as solely working for the club, when in reality he was also representing the player.
Such a practice is not unusual in the industry as it enables players to avoid paying tax on work carried out by their agents, but has been outlawed by the FA and Inland Revenue.
Brighton were also found guilty of misrepresentation when they signed Beram Kayal from Celtic in 2015.
The misrepresentation is believed to be due to Brighton’s use of player intermediaries
The Israeli international was also a key player in their Championship-winning campaign under Chris Hughton in 2017 and made 118 appearances before returning home to sign for Bnei Sakhan two years ago.
A statement published from the club said: ‘The FA accepted the club and its staff had acted in good faith, and also self-reported the breaches of FA Regulations on discovery.
The same error was mistakenly repeated on multiple transfers or contract negotiations of players to The FA between January 2015 and January 2018.’
A club spokesperson added: ‘This was an administrative error, made totally in good faith, which only came to light following a change of personnel in a senior administrative role.
‘We do not dispute the breach of FA regulations, and accept the findings of the commission. However all concerned acted in good faith, having misinterpreted a specific section of The FA’s rules.
Brighton have also been found guilty of misrepresentation after the signing of Beram Kayal (left) from Celtic in 2015
‘Once this error was discovered, the club self-reported the breach to The FA, and took the proper steps to correct the error.
‘We also fully cooperated with The FA throughout the process, while simultaneously reviewing our processes, and as a result have put in place procedures to ensure this won’t happen again.’
In a statement, the FA said: ‘An independent Regulatory Commission has fined Brighton and Hove Albion FC £366,600 and its Head of Recruitment and Analysis Paul Winstanley £6,400 for breaching FA Regulations.
‘Both Brighton and Hove Albion FC and Paul Winstanley admitted that they misrepresented the roles of registered Intermediaries in relation to transfers or contract negotiations of players to The FA between January 2015 and January 2018.
‘The independent Regulatory Commission imposed their respective fines following an FA disciplinary hearing, and the written reasons for these decisions will be published in due course.’