Debate may still be raging, but the EFL have seemingly concluded their investigations into the now infamous Leeds United 'spygate' affair, after handing the Yorkshire club a £200,000 fine.
Drama unfolded on January 10th, the day before the Whites were to entertain Derby county in what was a crucial Championship fixture for zany manager Marcelo Bielsa and his side. Authorities were called to escort a member of Bielsa's back room team from their opponents Training Centre facility, with allegations soon surfacing that the individual was engaged in spying on Frank Lampard's charges.
24 hours later, Leeds came out on the right-side of a two-nil win.
Many leading football figure's have had a say on the incident in the weeks since, and in particular, when the Argentinian took the unorthodox step of admitting all culpability in a bizarre press conference-cum-powerpoint presentation five days after the victory.
I sort of love Bielsa. “I observed all the rivals we played against and watched the training sessions of all our opponents before we played against them” 👀
— Gary Lineker 💙💛 (@GaryLineker) January 16, 2019
"It's totally wrong."
"I don't agree that it's worth a points deduction but Bielsa should be fined."
🗣️ Ray Parlour says #LUFC gained a 'massive advantage' over #DCFC by spying on them.
Should Leeds be punished over #Spygate? pic.twitter.com/0CJUtryCmP
— talkSPORT (@talkSPORT) January 14, 2019
And of course...Gazza....
In a statement released on the EFL website, the association found that the club had breached Regulation 3.4 - 'in all matters and transactions relating to the League, each Club shall behave towards each other Club and The League with the utmost good faith'
According to the same statement, third placed Leeds have also agreed to support a new regulation that is to be introduced which explicitly prohibits teams 'from viewing opposition training in the 72 hours immediately prior to a fixture, unless invited to do so'.
Coincidentally, since the win over the Rams, United have endured somewhat of a sketchy run of form. They've drawn one and lost two of their last five fixtures, subsequently giving up top-spot in the division to Norwich City as a consequence.
In response to the EFL statement, the 1975 European Cup winners expressed remorse.
We accept that whilst we have not broken any specific rule, we have fallen short of the standard expected by the EFL.
We apologise for acting in a way that has been judged culturally unacceptable in the English game.
Our focus can now return to matters on the field.
Leeds will meet Bolton at Elland Road on Saturday, as their push for automatic promotion back to the Premier League enters a critical period, with fixtures against fellow hopefuls West Brom, Bristol City and Sheffield United all upcoming within the next four weeks.