Just before handing Derby County a lesson in football, it emerged that a man was arrested outside the Rams training ground by Derbyshire police.
A jocular tweet later, that they were preserving the integrity of Derby’s preparations, and it seemed like a storm in a teacup sort of moment.
That’s until accusations started flying around that pliers and boltcutters were found on the would-be spy and that he was a Leeds United employee. With that came Marcelo Bielsa’s admission that Leeds United had spied on all opponents to press.
Cue the outrage, cue the letter of anger from 11 Sky Bet Championship sides, cue the fan protestations for Leeds United to be docked points. All this when no actual EFL rule was broken. A guideline yes, but a rule – nope.
After dragging on way past what could be termed ‘timely’, the EFL have finally delivered their judgement. Leeds United have to get out the company cheque book and sign off on £200,000.
Leeds United admitted to breaching the EFL’s ‘Regulation 3.4’ which states ‘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 EFL admitted, in a kind of roundabout way, that no specific ruling had been broken. Still, the Whites needed to be charged under a general regulation, and it still fell to the League’s governing body to provide some form of deterrent punishment.
That punishment is in the form of a £200,000 fine and a realisation that a more specific Regulation needs adopting to combat instances such as this and to protect training ground integrity.