Derby set to lodge formal complaint to EFL after spying storm

Leeds v Derby spy storm deepens with FA set to launch investigation after it emerges that man spotted outside training HQ with binoculars works for club and his car is traced back to city

  • Derby were going through final preparations for Friday’s clash against Leeds 
  • Police were called to training ground after reports of a man acting suspiciously 
  • Lampard was instructed to stop training as officers quizzed the suspect
  • The man was in possession of a pair of binoculars, pliers and a change of clothes 

Sami Mokbel for MailOnline

The FA are set to investigate the spying storm that is overshadowing tonight’s Leeds v Derby clash – with the mystery man caught by police outside their training ground confirmed as an employee of their Championship rivals.

Sportsmail revealed how Derby boss Frank Lampard was forced to halt training on Thursday amid concerns in dramatic scenes at the club’s HQ.

The two sides meet at Elland Road tonight and Derby confirmed ahead of the match that they are in talks with Leeds after the ‘suspicious’ man was found to work for Marcelo Bielsa’s side. It is understood the suspect was in possession of a pair of binoculars and a change of clothes.

Derbyshire Constabulary tweeted this picture in connection with Thursday's incident

Derbyshire Constabulary tweeted this picture in connection with Thursday’s incident

Derby manager Frank Lampard was forced to halt a crucial training session on Thursday

Derby manager Frank Lampard was forced to halt a crucial training session on Thursday

MARCELO BIELSA’S SPYING PAST 

Bielsa has previous in this. During his time at Chile he hired a 20-year-old ex-schoolmate of his daughter to travel across the world gathering information on the team’s opponents. This year ‘Paqui’ Meneghini took the reins of Chile’s Union La Calera, aged just 30

Long-time Bielsa collaborator Claudio Vivas was also called on to ‘spy’ for the coach at Newell’s: he donned a Boca cap and shirt, told security he was a tourist visiting the museum and sneaked into training to watch Boca’s set-piece preparations.

His protege Mauricio Pochettino, now managing Tottenham, said on Friday about the possibility of Leeds spying: ‘Thirty years ago that happened in Argentina.’

Derby are in contact with Leeds about the issue, with the club considering making formal contact with the EFL and the FA.

A club statement read: ‘Derby County Football Club can confirm that officers from the Derbyshire Constabulary were called to the Derby County Training Centre at around 11:20am on Thursday 10th January 2019 following reports of a man acting suspiciously outside the premises.

‘It has since been confirmed to Derby County that the individual concerned is an employee of the footballing staff at Leeds United Football Club.

‘The club is now in discussion with Leeds United club officials in relation to this incident.’

Police were continuing their enquiries this morning and Sportsmail understands the suspect and his car were traced back to Leeds United.

He was not arrested but Derby are set to make a complaint to the Football League regarding the incident. 

The EFL say there is no spying-related rule in their handbook so it’s unclear what punishment, if any, Leeds could face. 

But there is a law stipulating clubs must act ‘utmost good faith’ towards each other – a stipulation Leeds could be in breach of.

In 2014, Crystal Palace were fined after being accused of breaking the rule after it was alleged that they obtained team information before a Premier League game against Cardiff.  

Marcelo Bielsa's side welcome Derby to Elland Road in a top of the table clash on Friday night

Marcelo Bielsa’s side welcome Derby to Elland Road in a top of the table clash on Friday night

Derby were going through final preparations for the match when training was halted

An EFL spokesman added: ‘We are aware of the reports in relation to an incident at the training ground of Derby County. It is, of course, up to Derby County as to how they progress this matter but as of yet we have received no complaint or contact from the club.’

A statement from Derby Constabulary confirmed: ‘A man was found at the perimeter fence of Moor Farm training ground and spoken to. Officers conducted routine checks which were all above board.

‘Despite media reports, no damage to the fence was found, and the man was stopped outside the grounds. No arrests were made and the man was sent on his way.’ 

Officers were forced to move quickly due to concerns the man in question may have been planning something more sinister.

Upon arrival, police immediately brought a stop to the training session as they carried out their checks.

Nevertheless, the scenes have caused major disruption to Derby’s preparations ahead of tonight’s clash.

A post on Derbyshire Constabulary’s response unit Twitter page confirmed: ‘Officers have attended the training ground for @dcfcofficial (Derby County) after a suspicious male was seen at the perimeter fence.

‘Excellent search conducted male was located. All checks above board.’ 

The FA issued a statement which read: ‘We are aware of the incident at Derby County’s training ground and we will be investigating the matter.’

 


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