Leeds boss Bielsa admits he has spied on Norwich City and every other Championship team this season
PUBLISHED: 17:38 16 January 2019 | UPDATED: 17:51 16 January 2019
Leeds United boss Marcelo Bielsa has sensationally admitted to spying on training sessions of all of their Championship opponents so far this season.
The former Argentina and Chile manager called an impromptu press conference at the Championship leader’s Thorp Arch training ground this afternoon.
Bielsa admitted on Friday that he was responsible for sending a member of club staff to watch Derby training on Thursday and both the Football Association and English Football League have launched investigations.
Leeds have apologised to Derby and reminded Bielsa of his responsibilities after Friday night’s 2-0 home win over Derby was overshadowed by the incident.
Derbyshire Police revealed they moved on a man who was watching Derby’s training session last Thursday.
The Yorkshire Post are reporting that Bielsa made a lengthy statement, saying: “I called this press conference because we have the classic press conference before playing Stoke City.
“And I thought the spy matter would take time I would like to dedicate to the game. My goal regarding this situation of which I am the only one responsible.
“I wouldn’t like to mix it with the games and the play. And if you allow me I would like to make a summary of what happened.
“It’s about watching from a public space an activity that is realised in a private space without the agreement with the goal of both gaining sports advantage and hurting the fair play.
“I already said I was the only one responsible for this situation. The club is not responsible whatsoever and nobody on my staff is responsible for it.
“The person who did that followed my orders and I am the only one responsible.
“Many people made an opinion on my behaviour. Many are condemning the behaviour, saying that it was not ethical, that it was immoral. That it was violating of affecting fair play. That it was cheating. This club thought it was obliged to present public excuses to Derby County.
“And I was publicly told that my behaviour was not respecting the principles of integrity which is the basis of the club.
“Many managers, ex-footballers and footballers thought my behaviour was (lacking) respect. The last point of this situation is that the league after a complaint made by Derby County decided to open an investigation on my behaviour. So they will evaluate if I behaved badly and if my behaviour affected the prestige of the club or the league.
“One other point I would like to talk about is that I’m going to make it easier for the investigation of the league.
“I’m going to give the information it needs and I assume the fact that my behaviour is heard from the most extreme position.”
Leeds won 3-0 at Carrow Road in August and are currently four points clear of Sheffield United and Norwich at the top of the table.
Bielsa continued: “In a few words I can tell you we observed all the rivals we played against and we watched all the training sessions of the opponents before we played against them.
“My goal is to make the investigation easier and I don’t think that something is going to make worse what they are looking for than what I’m saying right now.
“By doing that I assume the possible sanction of the authorities.
“I don’t want to compare my behaviour, my situation with previous behaviours regarding this subject.
“I’ve heard that there are other behaviours which also effect the fairplay but I don’t want to defame myself by attacking others. I don’t want to point to any other situation that is not linked to my responsibility.
“Regarding what I’ve done, it’s not illegal. It’s not specified, it’s not described, its’ not restrained. We can discuss it, it’s not seen as a good thing, but it’s not a violation of the law.
“I know that not everything that’s legal is not right to do. You have many things that are legal, but not right, This is true as the fact that all the wrong things you do are not done with bad intention.
“Those who behave bad, regarding the subject we talk about, getting information, advantages with what is called cheating behaviour. That’s why I repeat again, it’s not because it’s legal that it’s the right thing to do.
“And it’s not because you have a wrong behaviour that you have bad intentions or the intention to cheat.”
Norwich are due to go to Leeds on Saturday, February 2, for a 5.30pm televised game, with tickets for the Elland Road clash already sold out.