Collective EFL letter 'not asking for punishment or points deduction' as Leeds United wait on Spygate investigation

The collective letter sent by Championship clubs asking for a full EFL inquiry into the ‘Spygate’ controversy does not include any demand for Leeds United to be hit with punishment or a points deduction, the YEP has learned.

Monday, 21st January 2019, 2:49 pm
Updated Monday, 21st January 2019, 2:54 pm
Leeds United are under investigation by both the EFL and Football Association over the 'Spygate' saga

A source close to one of the 11 sides behind the letter said it had requested “full disclosure” of United’s scouting techniques and included a series of questions about the dispute which arose before Leeds’ clash with Derby County 10 days ago.

The Elland Road club are under investigation by both the EFL and the Football Association after a member of Marcelo Bielsa’s backroom team was stopped by police outside Derby’s training ground 24 hours before County lost 2-0 at Elland Road on January 11.

Derby made a formal complaint soon after that fixture but 11 teams joined together to write to the EFL on Friday after being angered by comments made by Bielsa during a 66-minute media briefing at Thorp Arch last week.

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Bielsa confirmed that he had sent scouts to watch every Championship side train this season but used his briefing at United’s training ground to hit back at claims that he had gained an unfair advantage by doing so.

Norwich City, Millwall and Blackburn Rovers have so far confirmed that they put their names to the letter.

The YEP understands that Middlesbrough, Bristol City and Nottingham Forest are also among those clubs involved.

Bristol City owner Steve Lansdown called for Leeds to be punished with a points deduction last week but the YEP has been told that the letter to the EFL made no reference to potential sanctions.

A source said: “The letter doesn’t mention any punishment. It’s seeking full disclosure about what happened.”

The EFL and FA have made no comment about possible penalties facing Bielsa or Leeds and are still to decide if they will mount disciplinary action, although individuals involved in the case have played down the likelihood of a points deduction.

The EFL was by the YEP to provide a full list of clubs who signed the letter sent on Friday but said it was down to individual sides to comment on their involvement.

In a statement issued on Saturday, three hours before Leeds lost 2-1 at Stoke City, the organisation said: “The EFL has received a communication on behalf of a number of Championship clubs in regard to the current matter involving Leeds United.

“The request attributed to 11 clubs will be considered as part of the current investigation that has commenced.”

On Sunday, Norwich, who sit a point and a place below Bielsa’s league leaders in the Championship, became the first team to publicly reveal that they had signed the letter. Millwall and Blackburn followed suit this morning.

A Blackburn spokesman said: “Following the comments made by Leeds United manager Marcelo Bielsa last week, Blackburn Rovers and a number of Championship clubs have written to the EFL asking for full disclosure.”