How Leeds United's spygate verdict could impact Sheffield United
Leeds United's spygate saga finally came to end on Monday evening following a month-long investigation - and the outcome could affect Sheffield United.
What is the spygate saga?
It all began after a Whites 'spy' was caught acting acting suspiciously outside of the Derby County's training ground, a day before the pair's meeting in the Championship.
Leeds went on to win the game at Elland Road 2-0, however it proved to be the start of a long EFL investigation.
Eleven Championship clubs were said to have written to the EFL, demanding a thorough inquiry with Bristol City owner Steve Lansdown even suggesting a points deduction should be inflicted.
This brought a memorable and extraordinary response from Whites boss Marcelo Bielsa, who called an emergency press conference on January 16
During a 66-minute gathering, the local and national media were left stunned as Bielsa confirmed he had spyed on all of the Whites' opponents this term.
The Argentinian then tried to explain his actions by showing his staff's tactical analysis and going through, in huge detail, what he knew about Derby.
What was the outcome of spygate?
Leeds accepted a £200,000 after they admitted a breach of EFL Regulation 3.4.
Regulation 3.4 provides that ‘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.’
Leeds said in a statement: “We accept that whilst we have not broken any specific rule, we have fallen short of the standard expected by the EFL with regards to regulation 3.4.
"We apologise for acting in a way that has been judged culturally unacceptable in the English game and would like to thank Shaun Harvey and the EFL for the manner in which they conducted their investigations. Our focus can now return to matters on the field.”
How could the spygate outcome affect Sheffield United?
The EFL used the spygate scandal to implement a new regulation that makes it clear clubs will be "expressly prohibited from viewing opposition training in the 72 hours immediately prior to a fixture, unless invited to do so".
EFL Chief Executive Shaun Harvey said: “The regulatory requirement to act in ‘utmost good faith’ was brought into EFL Regulations two years ago and was bolstered in 2018 by the introduction of the Club Charter, which sets out in more detail the standards of behaviour expected of member Clubs.
“The facts of this particular case were not ones we would have expected - and have to deal with a complaint about - and it is clearly impossible to have a specific set of Regulations that will apply in all circumstances of poor conduct, so, this charge was brought under a general Regulation. In doing this, the EFL has demonstrated we have appropriate provisions in place to protect our competitions and apply to all Clubs.
“The sanctions imposed highlight how actions such as this cannot be condoned and act as a clear deterrent should any Club seek to undertake poor conduct in the future. I would like to thank Leeds United for their assistance in helping to bring this matter to a conclusion as quickly as was practically possible.
“We will now look to move on from this incident and commence the discussions about introducing a specific Regulation at a meeting with all Clubs later this month.”