Leeds United fined £200k for 'Spygate'

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Origins of 'Spygate'

Leeds United have been fined £200,000 following their involvement in the recent ‘Spygate’ saga.

Prior to their Championship fixture against Derby County in January, a club employee was caught acting suspiciously at the Rams’ training ground, leading to police being called.

It was then revealed that he was sent by Leeds boss Marcelo Bielsa, who took full blame for the incident and astonishingly went on to tell the media that they had been doing it to every opponent they had played this season - which eventually led to the EFL officially charging them.

That was then followed by a 70-minute press conference in which the Argentine demonstrated the work that goes into preparing for their opponents each week, showing the gathered press via a lengthy powerpoint.

Leeds went on to defeat Derby 2-0 at Elland Road in the Friday night clash, with opposing manager Frank Lampard being left frustrated by the distraction heading into the vital away game in Yorkshire.

The EFL have fined the club for breaching “good faith” and have also received a formal reprimand off the back of it.

Marcelo Bielsa

Consequences

On the decision, 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.”

It's believed that a number of EFL clubs had put pressure on the organisation to ensure Leeds faced sanctions for such actions, many of whom will likely have been the target of spying before their upcoming meetings.

The EFL have since imposed a new law which forbids teams going to watch their opponent’s training sessions within 72 hours of a potential fixture against them, as a direct result of Bielsa and Leeds’ actions.

Leeds United

GoFundMe support

Incredibly, one Leeds United fan has already set up a GoFundMe page after reacting angrily to the decision, believing that his team had done nothing wrong in spying on Derby and the rest of the Championship this season.

Jack Platt accompanied his campaign with: “The EFL gave Leeds United a 200k fine for ‘SPYGATE’ and us as fans should show the FA and the EFL that they are corrupt and we are Leeds United we don’t give a Fxxx.”

What’s more incredible is the fact that he has already raised £2,465 of his £200,000 total from 263 donations as of 11:15am on 19/02/2019, less than 16 hours after setting up the campaign.

The supporter has declared that should the club not accept the money raised by fans that it will instead be split equally amongst chosen charities. The chosen charities are the Toby NYE Fund and Leeds Foundation.

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