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Leeds United and Marcelo Bielsa collect FIFA Fair Play Award

:Headline: Leeds United and Marcelo Bielsa collect FIFA Fair Play Award:
The prize was awarded for allowing Aston Villa to score unchallenged at Elland Road last season.

Marcelo Bielsa and Leeds were surprise winners at the Best FIFA awards on Monday.

To the bemusement of many fans who have not always associated Leeds or Bielsa with fair play, the veteran Argentinian and his players were awarded the Fair Play Award for allowing Aston Villa to score against them in April.

Angry scenes broke out after Mateusz Klich scored for Leeds while Villa's Jonathan Kodjia lay injured on the field. Bielsa insisted Leeds, despite the attempts of former defender Pontus Jansson to stop them, allow Villa to score immediately from the kick-off.

Captain Liam Cooper and fitness coach Benoit Delaval collected the award on Bielsa's behalf at the ceremony in Milan.

The renowned coach, currently in his second season at Leeds and in English football, caused something of a stir in January when he admitted to having watched all of United's opponents train.

The club was fined £200,000 as a result – a penalty Bielsa paid out of his own pocket – and the 64-year-old was the subject of some derision as a result.

Dubbed as 'Spygate', the topic was not far from conversation in the wake of Bielsa's award, as Gary Lineker tweeted a spy emoji in reply to the announcement, while on Radio 5 Live, a disbelieving Chris Sutton asked: "Do previous misdemeanours not count?"

But in giving Bielsa the award, FIFA said: "Some residents of planet football consider winning the ultimate. The only purpose of playing the sport. For others though, there are values which need to be held even higher than those which bring victory.

"In April 2019, Marcelo Bielsa and the Leeds United squad were chasing automatic promotion to the English Premier League. They faced Aston Villa, and went 1-0 up. However, Mateusz Klich's goal was scored while a Villa player lay injured. Bielsa ordered his side to allow the opposition to equalise.

"The game finished 1-1, ultimately allowing their promotion rivals Sheffield United to guarantee their automatic spot in the Premier League, at Leeds' expense. What was at stake makes Bielsa's act of sportmanship all the more remarkable."

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last updated article - 2019-09-25 10:23:37:
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Championship Table
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Leeds UnitedLeeds37218856302671
2West Bromwich AlbionWest Brom371913564372770
3Fulham371810952381464
4Brentford371791164333160
5Nottingham ForestNott'm Forest371612948381060
6Preston North EndPreston37168135045556
7Bristol City371510125153-255
8Millwall37131594440454
9Cardiff CityCardiff37131595250254
10Blackburn RoversBlackburn371411125245753
11Swansea CitySwansea371314104645153
12Derby CountyDerby371312124949051
13Queens Park RangersQPR37148155862-450
14Reading37139154642448
15Sheffield WednesdaySheff Weds37139154649-348
16Birmingham CityBirmingham371211144857-947
17Stoke CityStoke37126194955-642
18Huddersfield TownHuddersfield37119174558-1342
19Middlesbrough37914143747-1041
20Wigan AthleticWigan371011163850-1241
21Hull City37118184963-1441
22Charlton AthleticCharlton37109184454-1039
23Luton TownLuton37105224371-2835
24Barnsley37810194262-2034
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