Leeds formally charged over spygate while Neil Harris joins the chorus of disapproval
Tuesday, 15th Jan 2019 22:02 by Tim Whelan
The EFL and the FA have both announced they will be investigating our activities around the Derby County training, while Millwall boss Neil Harris has decided that the world needs his opinion on the matter.
The Football League have announced they will be formally investigating the affair, as the Football Association are already doing, though it does seem to be a duplication of effort for both governing bodies to get involved at the same time.
A League statement said "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 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.”
Meanwhile, Millwall supremo decided to get involved and give the South London Press and Mercury his thoughts on the matter. “In all my years in football I have never seen anything like it. I think it is completely disrespectful to other teams and the spirit of the game in this country. The fact he doesn’t think he has done anything wrong is disappointing”.
“He is risking the reputation of Leeds and dragging the name of the football club into disrepute”, said the manager of a club with an excellent reputation, whose fans would never dream of bringing the game into disrepute themselves.
Harris also said “We’ll keep a close eye on who is walking up and down the path at Calmont Road.” Now we know where the Millwall training ground is, and Google maps tells me it’s in Bromley, if any of our London-based fans fancy passing by to take a look just before we play them again.
And Derby manager Frank Lampard claims that he "does not believe" spying tactics were employed by Chelsea while he was there as a player. "I certainly wasn't aware of it and I don't believe it at all," said Lampard. Certainly not in the form that it happened this time." But this isn’t exactly borne out by an interview given to the Daily Telegraph in 2011 by Ex-Blues coach Andre Villas-Boas.
Referring to his time as a coach at the Bridge during Jose Mourinho’s first spell as boss, Villas-Boas said he would "travel to training grounds, often incognito" to pick up information on opponents as Mourinho would "leave nothing to chance". Which is of course completely different to what Leeds were doing last week. Or maybe not.
But the hypocrisy of others is unlikely to be enough to save Leeds from some sort of punishment, now that the authorities have had time to go through their rule books to find everything they can charge us with. Some have called for a points deduction, so we’ll just have to hope that common sense prevails and it amounts to nothing more than a fine or a touchline ban for Bielsa.
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