By Dave Woods

24th Sep, 2019 | 5:19pm

FIFA Fair Play Award a personal triumph for Bielsa

Marcelo Bielsa and the Leeds United squad were collectively awarded the FIFA Fair Play Award last night, after allowing Aston Villa to score in their Championship game at the end of last season. 

Leeds had taken the lead while a Villa player was down injured and that caused an on-field bust-up between the two teams.

After that had calmed down, Bielsa instructed his players to let Villa score from the kick-off. Every Leeds player except Pontus Jansson followed his instructions. The former Leeds centre-back wasn’t happy with the decision and made a half-hearted attempt to stop Villa scoring.

That didn’t stop FIFA from presenting the award to Leeds which will be seen by Bielsa as personal vindication after he was accused of cheating over spygate.

That was the view of Martin Keown, among others after the spygate scandal erupted and Bielsa admitted to sending staff to watch opponents train.

However, for something to be cheating, the offence has to surely break a law and that wasn’t the case with spygate.

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Regardless, the EFL fined Leeds £200,000 and warned them about their future behaviour.

Thankfully, the record books will now forever list Leeds as being the most sporting of clubs in the 18/19 season and Bielsa doesn’t have to worry about sensational pundits trying to muddy his name.

It’s an award that is well deserved.