EFL introduces new rule to prevent repeat of Spygate saga which engulfed Leeds United

Leeds United head coach Marcelo Bielsa
Leeds United head coach Marcelo Bielsa
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The EFL has introduced a new rule restricting clubs from observing rival training sessions in the wake of the Spygate saga.

The creation of a regulation specifically governing the privacy of training grounds was approved at the EFL’s AGM in Portugal following the spat which broke out between Leeds United and Derby County midway through this season.

Leeds received a £200,000 fine after Marcelo Bielsa admitted to sending scouts to watch other Championship clubs train for the purposes of pre-match analysis.

The comments came after a member of Bielsa’s staff was stopped and spoken to by police outside Derby’s training ground 24 hours before County were beaten 2-0 at Elland Road on January 11.

United’s action were covered by no specific EFL rule but they were widely condemned for Bielsa’s actions and the club pleaded guilty to a breach of ‘good faith’ following multiple complaints made to the governing body by other sides.

Leeds agreed to support the introduction of a new rule at this week’s AGM and the EFL has now banned clubs from observing training involving any rival they are due to play in the 72 hours before the teams meet.

The new rule reads: “Without prejudice to the requirements of regulation 3.4 (that each club shall behave towards each other club with the upmost (sic) good faith), no club shall directly or indirectly observe (or attempt to observe) another club’s training session in the period of 72 hours prior to any match scheduled to be played between those respective clubs.”

Meanwhile, Debbie Jevans has been named as the EFL's new chief executive following the resignation of ex-Leeds CEO Shaun Harvey.