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Investigation launched into Leeds' spygate controversy

The EFL have written to Bielsa’s employers over the matter.

Marcelo Bielsa finds himself at the heart of controversy.
Marcelo Bielsa finds himself at the heart of controversy.
Image: EMPICS Sport

THE ENGLISH FOOTBALL League have confirmed they are investigating Leeds United following Marcelo Bielsa’s admission that he sent a member of staff to spy on Derby County training. 

Controversy engulfed the build-up to Leeds’ clash with Derby last Friday as a Leeds employee was found with a pair of binoculars at the Derby training ground, with Bielsa admitting later that day that he had sanctioned the subterfuge. Furthermore, he admitted it is a tactic he has deployed for years. 

In an apology to Derby, Leeds United publicly scolded their manager, promising to remind him of “the integrity and honesty which are the foundations that Leeds United is built on”. 

Derby lodged an official complaint nonetheless, and the EFL have launched an investigation on the grounds that Leeds’ actions may contravene a charter to which all clubs agreed ahead of the start of the season. 

“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″, reads an official statement. 

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 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 11 January 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”. 

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Gavin Cooney

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