Tranmere Rovers chairman Lorraine Rogers has criticised the FA for fining Sunderland just £1,500 for inducing Sean Thornton to sign for them.
The First Division club were found guilty of agreeing terms with the Irish teenager before his contract at Prenton Park had expired in the summer of 2002.
Rogers told the club's website: "This paltry fine shows our system isn't working."
"We've had to wait for too long for a judgment and this level of penalty won't be a deterrent.
"Small clubs with successful youth policies are not being adequately protected - good players can simply be picked off by the bigger clubs and football's governing body will allow it to happen."