Norwich City demand answers from the EFL over Marcelo Bielsa ‘spy-gate’ controversy at Leeds United
PUBLISHED: 09:23 20 January 2019 | UPDATED: 21:29 20 January 2019
The Canaries have contacted the Football League to urge them to probe the spying episode involving Marcelo Bielsa at Championship promotion rivals Leeds United.
City were correctly listed in a report in the Mail on Sunday as one of 11 Championship clubs pressing for a full EFL enquiry into Bielsa’s conduct.
A member of Bielsa’s backroom team was spotted at Derby County’s training ground ahead of their recent league meeting.
The Argentine then held a bizarre press briefing ahead of Saturday’s 2-1 league defeat at Stoke City in which he indicated it was not an isolated practice as part of his extensive scouting preparations for each opponent.
City released the following statement on Sunday morning, which read: ‘Following the comments made by Leeds United manager Marcelo Bielsa this week, Norwich City and a number of Championship clubs have written to the EFL asking for full disclosure.’
The Mail on Sunday report had indicated Middlesbrough, Blackburn and Bristol City are among the other clubs seeking an investigation, and quoted an EFL spokesperson who said: ‘We have received a communication on behalf of a number of clubs which will be considered as part of the current investigation that has commenced.’
Any potential sanctions would reportedly centre around whether Bielsa’s behaviour constitutes improper conduct under rule E3.
City moved within a point of leaders Leeds, after Friday’s 3-1 home win over Birmingham City, and head to Elland Road early next month for a promotion shoot-out.
Daniel Farke sought to play down Bielsa’s conduct when pressed on the matter prior to the Blues’ victory.
“With this situation I will speak about quality, style and class. We are a club full of quality and full of class,” said Farke. “Everyone is responsible how he prepares his team for the challenge. We all have different ways and different styles.
“In general, I just can say we as a club don’t send any spies out and if there is a session behind closed doors we respect that.
“That is our way. If a club or a head coach does it in a different way that is for others to judge. If there is a spy around to be honest I am not so sure they would realise what is happening.
“If you are watching from a bridge 200 metres away you can probably tell the difference between Grant Hanley and Emi Buendia.
“I am full of respect for the career of Marcelo Bielsa. The way they are playing is a big credit to him. Maybe 10 years ago it was the case that one day before a game there was a tactical session when you play your starting line-up.
“Nowadays I don’t think there are any secret set-pieces or whatever.
“Maybe you can see if the players are in a good mood or the coach stays indoors at the training ground but there is only so much you can find out.”