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Leeds’ Bielsa admits he spied ‘all the rivals’

Soccer Leeds Spy At Training

FILE - In this Oct. 29, 2017 file photo, Marcelo Bielsa looks on during their French League one soccer match against Marseille at the Lille Metropole stadium, in Villeneuve d’Ascq, northern France. English second-tier club Leeds has been accused by a rival of having an employee spy on its training session ahead of a league match. Derby County says police were called to its training center following reports of a man “acting suspiciously outside the premises.” Derby said the man works for the “footballing staff at Leeds” and that it would hold talks with Leeds. Leeds is managed by Argentine coach Marcelo Bielsa, who is known for his meticulous planning and attention to detail. (AP Photo/Michel Spingler, File)


Managerial darling Marcelo Bielsa spoke out Wednesday as fallout continues from a Leeds United scout caught spying on Derby County last week.

Bielsa says he’s spied on every team the club has played in the Championship this season.

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How rare is this? And how big of a role has it played in Leeds’ 4-point lead in the race for automatic promotion to the Premier League? From the BBC:

“I observed all the rivals we played against and watched the training sessions of all opponents,” he said. “All the information I need to clarify, I gather it without watching the training session of the opponent, so why did I send someone to watch them? Just because I thought I wasn’t violating the norm. I gathered information that I can obtain in another way.

“We feel guilty if we don’t work enough, it [watching the opponents train] allows us to have less anxiety and in my case I am stupid enough to allow this kind of behavior.”

The 63-year-old Argentine has spent time at Lille, Lazio, Marseille, Athletic Bilbao, and Espanyol in addition to running the national teams of Argentina and Chile.

It does raise the question of how much spying is done in soccer. We know that the NFL’s New England Patriots cheated during a game against the New York Jets and that MLB teams try to steal signals, but sneaking around a training session... is that okay? Should it be?

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