Leeds United make formal apology to Derby County over 'spygate'

Leeds United release statement over Derby County 'spygate'.
Leeds United release statement over Derby County 'spygate'.
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Leeds United have made a formal apology to Derby County over the spying saga which dominated last night’s game at Elland Road.

United chairman Andrea Radrizzani apologised in face-to-face discussions with Derby owner Mel Morris after it emerged that a man stopped by police outside County’s training ground on Thursday was a member of Marcelo Bielsa’s staff.

Derby accused Leeds of attempting to spy on a training session held by their manager Frank Lampard 24 hours before last night’s game and Bielsa admitted at the end of Leeds’ 2-0 win over County that he had personally authorised the scouting trip.

Bielsa defended himself by saying he had employed the practice of covert scouting in other countries without complaint but the Football Association is investigating the incident and could seek to bring charges against him and Leeds.

United said they would hold talks with Bielsa and his backroom team in the coming days to discuss the controversy.

A statement from the club issued this morning said: “Following comments made by Marcelo Bielsa yesterday the club will look to work with our head coach and his staff to remind them of the integrity and honesty which are the foundations that Leeds United is built on.

“Our owner Andrea Radrizzani has met with Derby County’s owner Mel Morris to formally apologise for Marcelo’s actions.

“We will make no further comment on this matter.”

Bielsa said last night that he was ready to accept any sanctions from the club or the FA but insisted he had not apologised to Lampard, despite phoning the Derby boss to accept responsibility for the scout’s appearance.

United went onto claim an important victory in yesterday’s game, moving five points clear at the top of the Championship.