Leeds United receive heavy fine for spygate scandal
Let's hope that will be the end of this entire fiasco
Leeds United have been fined £200,000 by the EFL for their role in the spygate controversy which dominated English football at the start of the year.
The Yorkshire club were found to have breached Regulation 3.4. which states that "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".
The charge relates to an incident at Derby County's training ground on January 10, which saw Derby County contact police over a person acting suspiciously near the premises two days before the Rams faced Marcelo Bielsa's side.
The person in question was found to be a member of Leeds United staff. No police charges were ever brought against them.
The incident provoked a tedious conversation in English football over sportsmanship, competition and the limits of seeking a competitive advantage, and saw a number of pundits condemn the Argentine coach for what had happened.
Bielsa later held a press briefing with the media in which he discussed his scouting methods, and took full responsibility for the incident.
After announcing the charge, 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.
“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.”
Leeds United said: “We accept that whilst we have not broken any specific rule, we have fallen short of the standard expected by the EFL with regards to regulation 3.4.
“We apologise for acting in a way that has been judged culturally unacceptable in the English game and would like to thank Shaun Harvey and the EFL for the manner in which they conducted their investigations.
“Our focus can now return to matters on the field.”
The EFL also revealed that Leeds United have given their full support to a "new EFL Regulation that make it clear that Clubs will be expressly prohibited from viewing opposition training in the 72 hours immediately prior to a fixture, unless invited to do so".