By Prof Dr Ian Blackshaw
Following the recent revelations that Leeds United Head Coach, Marcelo Bielsa, had sent a staff member to spy on Derby County in training and admitted, in a subsequent news conference, that he had spied covertly on every opponent of his club during the present season, the English Football League (EFL) has been urged by eleven League Mangers to deduct points from his club.
He also admitted that he had spied on other occasions in former positions.
Leading the pack braying for his blood, Bristol City Owner, Steve Lansdown, has described these revelations as justifying a points deduction rather than a fine as “the only thing that makes sense.” Adding: “a fine would go some way to showing that it’s not acceptable…[but] whatever happens we mustn’t condone it.”
It is not clear, as a result of formal investigations launched by the EFL and FIFA, what punishment will be imposed on the club.
It seems that it is not against the Laws of the Game, but Bielsa’s unorthodox activities would certainly appear to be against the spirit of the game and fair play in general and could result in a charge of being levelled against him of bringing the game of football into disrepute!
Perhaps both a points deduction and a fine would send the right message to others who might want to follow suit, as, after all, undercover spying on opponents constitutes unfair competition in a sporting sense and, as such, should not be tolerated!
Prof Dr Ian Blackshaw may be contacted by e-mail at ‘firstname.lastname@example.org’