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Friday 19 April 2019

Bielsa: 'Leeds spied on every rival this season'

PROBE: Marcelo Bielsa
PROBE: Marcelo Bielsa

Head coach Marcelo Bielsa has admitted Leeds have "observed all the rivals" they have played this season.

The Argentinian said on Friday that he was responsible for sending a member of club staff to watch Derby training and the English Football Association and the English Football League have launched investigations into the accusations of 'spying'.

Leeds apologised to Derby and reminded Bielsa of his responsibilities after Friday night's 2-0 win over promotion rivals County at Elland Road was overshadowed by the incident.

And yesterday Bielsa called a press conference at Leeds' training ground to discuss the matter in more detail.

He said: "I'm going to make it easier for EFL investigation. I'm going to make it easier for them and I assume my behaviour is observed from the most extreme position.

"I observed all the rivals we played against. We watched all the training sessions before we played them.

"My goal is to make this easier for the investigation. By doing this I assume the possible sanctions by the authorities. I don't want to compare my situation with previous similar incidents." Bielsa was adamant what he has done is not illegal.

"I don't want to make it easier for me by attacking others," he added. "Regarding what I've done - it is not illegal. It's not specified, described or restrained.

"It's not seen as a good thing, but it is not a violation of the law. Although not illegal it's not necessarily the right thing to do. The wrong things you do are not done with bad intention or an intention to cheat. If you observe something without authorisation we call it spying. I'm going to try and explain I did not have bad intentions. I did not try to get an unfair sporting advantage. But I did it because it was not illegal or violating specific laws."

'SPYGATE' TIMELINE

January 10: A day before the Rams host Bielsa's league-leaders at Pride Park an employee of Leeds was spotted outside the Derby training ground. The police were called and Derby later released a statement confirming the chain of events.

January 11: The FA announce they are to investigate the incident, with the statement released shortly before goals from Kemar Roofe and Jack Harrison secure a 2-0 win for Leeds. Lampard speaks after the game, saying that sending someone to spy on the training of his side was "over the line" and that he would "rather not coach" than employ similar tactics.

January 12: Leeds formally address the incident and confirm they offered an apology to Derby and would "remind head coach Marcelo Bielsa of his responsibilities."

January 15: The EFL launch a "formal investigation" into the incident.

January 16: Bielsa holds an impromptu press briefing where he says he has "observed" every opponent this season and that he will help the EFL with their investigation.

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