Leeds avoid points deduction as EFL announce Spygate punishment

James Marshment

Leeds have been fined £200,000 and given a severe reprimand by the EFL after an investigation into spying.

The Sky Bet Championship promotion chasers had been under investigation after boss Marcelo Bielsa admitting to sending someone to spy on Derby at their training ground ahead of their match against Leeds last month.

The club formally admitted a breach of Regulation 3.4 which states: “In all matters and transactions relating to the League, each Club shall behave towards each other Club and The League with the utmost good faith.”

A new rule is also set to be confirmed which prohibits teams from viewing opposition training in the 72 hours immediately prior to a fixture, unless invited to do so.

EFL chief executive Shaun Harvey said: “The sanctions imposed highlight how actions such as this cannot be condoned and act as a clear deterrent should any club seek to undertake poor conduct in the future.

“I would like to thank Leeds United for their assistance in helping to bring this matter to a conclusion as quickly as was practically possible.

“We will now look to move on from this incident and commence the discussions about introducing a specific regulation at a meeting with all clubs later this month.”

Eleven Championship clubs had complained to the EFL about Leeds spying on opposition teams, the governing body confirmed last monthbut United, currently third in the Championship, will be relieved to have avoided a points deduction.

Bielsa had come clean on spying on each and every one of Leeds’ opponents this season in the fury that followed – but defended his actions by revealing how – in a coaching masterclass – the watching of their opponents only accounted for 5% of their preparation work for each game.

“When you watch an opponent the day before a game it either confirms what you know.”

Bielsa also says it’s too late to construct a project to change tactically.

However, he did admit he regretted the way the scandal had exploded in Leeds’ faces.

“For me it’s important to explain. When you look at an opponent you want to know starting XI, the tactical set up and set pieces. These are three main things coaches look at.”

Bielsa then turned to his now infamous PowerPoint presentation to explain how he’s watched all 51 matches Derby played last season.

“We think by doing that and gathering information we get closer to a win, even though we know it’s not true. And in my case it’s because I’m stupid enough to engage in this sort of behaviour.

“Each game took four hours to analyse.

“Why did we do that? Because we think this is professional behaviour. It’s to try and avoid being ignorant about the competition we’re playing in.

“This is not very useful. It doesn’t put you in better conditions to win a game but the way to respect football is to make the effort to know the players in the team. I can’t speak English but I can speak about the 24 teams of the Championship.

“I feel ashamed to tell you this [to go into details of his coaching and tactical methods].

“But all this information is not committed to memory. I’m here to convince you that all I’m saying is true [and that spying on an opponent training does not give you an unfair advantage, but this tactical analysis of their games could].”


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