Leeds fined £200,000 for ‘spygate’ affair as EFL make new law to prevent further incidents

A new law has been created whereby teams are now barred from viewing their opponent's training within 72 hours of a fixture

Tom Kershaw
Monday 18 February 2019 20:02 GMT
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Mauricio Pochettino believes Leeds-Derby ‘spygate’ is ‘not a big deal’

Leeds have been fined £200,000 and received a formal reprimand for breaching “good faith” by the EFL for the ‘spygate’ incident where a club employee, acting on behalf of Marcelo Bielsa, was caught acting suspiciously on the perimeter of Derby’s training ground.

Police were called before the man was later revealed as a Leeds club employee. Bielsa took full responsibility for the incident and admitted he had sent someone to spy on every opponent he has faced thus far this season, while Derby boss Frank Lampard claimed he would rather not coach than use such tactics.

The drawn-out saga became the subject of contentious debate with the likes of Mauricio Pochettino defending Bielsa’s actions, while the Leeds manager hosted a 70-minute press conference, where he illustrated the depths of research he goes to on every team and dismissed the impact spying on Derby would have had.

It’s understood that a number of clubs had demanded the EFL take action, and a verdict was finally reached on Monday with Leeds’ full cooperation.

As a result, a new law has been created whereby teams are now barred from viewing their opponent’s training within 72 hours of a fixture.

Marcelo Bielsa delivered a PowerPoint presentation after the incident to show the depth Leeds study their opponents (Leeds United)

EFL Chief Executive Shaun Harvey said: “The regulatory requirement to act in ‘utmost good faith’ was brought into EFL Regulations two years ago and was bolstered in 2018 by the introduction of the Club Charter, which sets out in more detail the standards of behaviour expected of member clubs.

“The facts of this particular case were not ones we would have expected – and have to deal with a complaint about - and it is clearly impossible to have a specific set of Regulations that will apply in all circumstances of poor conduct, so, this charge was brought under a general Regulation. In doing this, the EFL has demonstrated we have appropriate provisions in place to protect our competitions and apply to all clubs.

“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.

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