Football news - Leeds avoid points deduction but fined £200,000 over 'Spygate'
Leeds United received a major boost in their hopes of gaining promotion to the Premier League as they avoided a points deduction following the 'Spygate' saga.
The English Football League have formally reprimanded the club with a £200,000 fine and Leeds have backed new regulations that bans spying on training 72 hours before a game.
Marcelo Bielsa admitted last month that he sent a staff member to Derby's training session to spy on their opponents ahead of facing them at Elland Road and subsequently revealed that it was a practice exercised before facing all his rivals this season.
Leeds United manager Marcelo Bielsa admitted to spying on his opponentsGetty Images
A statement from the EFL read: "After finalising its investigations into the incident at Derby County’s training ground on Thursday 10 January, the EFL reached the conclusion that the conduct undertaken by Leeds United in observing opponents’ training sessions, is a breach of Regulation 3.4.
"Regulation 3.4 provides 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."
"Leeds United has fully co-operated with the EFL’s inquiries and following a comprehensive review of all the evidence provided, the club has now formally admitted a breach of Regulation 3.4.
"As a consequence the club has been fined £200,000 (inclusive of a contribution to costs) and received a formal reprimand and warning to the effect that the club’s conduct fell significantly short of the standards expected by the EFL and must not be repeated."
Leeds are third in the Championship, two points off leaders Norwich having played one game fewer - but Bielsa and his staff will now need to be invited to the training ground of a rival club in the three days prior to a match.
The club have issued an apology for acting in a manner that has been deemed 'culturally unacceptable in the English game'.
Frank Lampard was unimpressed by Leeds' conductPA Sport
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."