Leeds hold their breath as EFL formally investigate spygate

Date published: Tuesday 15th January 2019 3:28 - Matthew Briggs

The EFL has announced it has launched a “formal investigation” after Leeds boss Marcelo Bielsa’s admission he instructed a member of staff to spy on a Derby training session.

Leeds apologised to Derby and Frank Lampard and said they would remind Bielsa of his responsibilities.

The build-up to last Friday night’s 2-0 home win over Derby was dominated by claims from the Rams that a man was caught outside their training ground.

Derbyshire Police were forced to intervene and it transpired the individual was an employee of Leeds, who was watching a training session.

The Football Association has begun its own probe and the EFL has followed suit, saying in a statement: “The EFL has today written to Leeds United requesting their observations in regard to an incident that took place in the vicinity of Derby County’s training ground on Thursday 10 January, 2019.

“It follows a complaint from Derby County who allege that an individual, acting under the instruction of Leeds United, sought to observe a private training session the day before the two clubs were due to meet in the Sky Bet Championship.”

The statement continued: “The EFL has now determined that it is appropriate to consider this matter in the context of a number of EFL regulations whilst also noting that the alleged actions appear to contravene the Club’s Charter that all EFL clubs agreed to in summer 2018.

“The decision to progress this matter to a formal investigation comes as a result of the club’s manager, Marcelo Bielsa, admitting to instructing an individual to undertake the acts being complained of in a television interview broadcast on Sky Sports on Friday, January 11, 2019.

“The Football Association has also confirmed they are considering the same matter in line with its own rules and the EFL will work with its FA counterparts to ensure that any potential action taken does not prejudice those investigations being undertaken. ”

Bielsa spoke to Derby boss Lampard over the phone to accept full responsibility and was open about the incident when speaking to the media at Elland Road last Friday evening.

The former Argentina and Chile coach insisted it was not his intention to gain an advantage in a lengthy explanation that saw him admit it is something he has done for a number of years.

On Saturday morning, Leeds issued a statement, which read: “Following comments made by Marcelo Bielsa yesterday the club will look to work with our head coach and his staff to remind them of the integrity and honesty which are the foundations that Leeds United is built on.

“Our owner Andrea Radrizzani has met with Derby County’s owner Mel Morris to formally apologise for Marcelo’s actions. We will make no further comment on this matter.”

Asked by Sky Sports if he would be making a complaint, Lampard had said: “I don’t think we need to, because he’s admitted it so it’s easily dealt with.

“We had somebody the day before our first game against them which we lost 4-1. Now Leeds can beat you 4-1, they’re a fantastic team, but we had somebody in the bushes that day, twice this season now…”

 

 

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