Marcelo Bielsa held an explosive press conference on Wednesday, in which he admitted that Leeds United have spied on every single team they have faced in the Championship this season.
The Argentine admitted sending a club employee to spy on Derby County’s training sessions before their game on Friday, which Leeds won 2-0.
An EFL investigation was subsequently opened, and that, in turn, led to an impromptu press conference in which Bielsa made the astonishing admission that Leeds have done the same thing to every single team they have faced in 2018/19.
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He even went so far as to claim that he and his team of analysts watched every match Derby played last season in a bid to work out their tactics.
Rival fans have subsequently called for further sanctions to be imposed, with some even suggesting a points deduction, but it remains to be seen how the league will react.
Football FanCast is here to run you through the potential consequences…
The formal investigation already taking place was serious enough, but Bielsa’s admission has now raised the stakes.
The EFL could choose to widen the investigation and, though Bielsa claims his intention was to assist them in their work, it could ultimately prove his downfall.
The league have a number of sanctions available to them, per Sky Sports, including a financial penalty, a formal warning or, of course, a points deduction.
Derby manager Frank Lampard – who halted training after spotting the alleged spy – called on the Football Association to take action, per The Independent, and they are also investigating the matter.
There is no clear cut rule on spying on opponents, but both the EFL and the FA have the opportunity to set a precedent.
With Leeds top of the Championship and four points clear of Sheffield United, a serious points deduction could significantly damage their hopes of promotion.
Bielsa says he has done nothing wrong, but the governing bodies may not see it that way.
The Argentine claims to have done nothing wrong and, in the eyes of the law, he is technically right.
There is no rule against spying on opponents, but, as mentioned, the EFL and the FA have a chance to set a precedent for this behaviour.
If that does turn out to be a significant points deduction or something similar, Bielsa could end up falling on his sword.
The former Marseille manager is known for leaving jobs in explosive fashion and there was speculation that Wednesday’s press conference was called for the sole purpose of Bielsa announcing his resignation.
Were Leeds to fail to gain promotion as a direct result of his press conference, perhaps he would have little choice but to hand the reigns over to someone else.
Leeds fans would be left devastated if that came to pass, with many expressing their admiration for the manager after his show of brutal honesty.
They may change their minds if this is actually the beginning of the end.
There is, of course, the prospect that the EFL and the FA find that Bielsa has done nothing wrong.
There is a feeling that “spying” is prevalent throughout English football, but that no other managers are quite as brazen about it.
Bielsa has merely held his hands up and admitted it, and that may well be good enough for the authorities.
If it is, they could choose to merely ask for another apology, and move on.
Leeds will hope this is the likeliest course of action; they are safely ensconced at the top of the Championship table and have a huge chance to secure promotion to the Premier League.
The last thing they need, then, is the distraction of a major sanction.