Simon Jordan has defended Marcelo Bielsa on talkSPORT after the Leeds United boss was awarded the FIFA Fair Play award, and insisted that the Spygate saga was blown out of proportion.
Bielsa’s first season at Elland Road became a talking point once again last month when football’s governing body announced the award for the Whites head coach.
The award was given after Bielsa instructed his players to allow Aston Villa to score a goal uncontested after United had taken the lead in controversial circumstances in their clash.
Some felt that Leeds should not have won the award after they were fined earlier in the campaign for sending a member of staff to Derby’s training ground to watch a session ahead of their fixture.
But Jordan not only defended the decision to give Bielsa the award, but he also suggested that he had plenty of sympathy for the Leeds boss for the uproar that emerged from Spygate.
“You can ridicule it, but the criteria was to look at an individual instance, not to look what he’s done previously,” he told talkSPORT.
“The Spygate scenario, if it was an English manager who was doing it, an English manager who was brought up on the traditions of this game and the ethics and the code of conduct and whatever else [it would be wrong]. For crying out loud, how people get up in arms about things when this game is [filled] with people behaving in a fashion which is inappropriate.
“But I look at it and say this is a guy who comes from a background that perhaps doesn’t understand the methodology over here and has used it everywhere else. So I think it was blown out of proportion.”
Leeds fans will point out that no rules were broken by Bielsa’s actions. And the attitudes and reactions of many certainly angered the Elland Road faithful. Pundits appeared determined to suggest a more extreme punishment as the days went on, seemingly to keep the story in the limelight.
And the size of the fine seemed completely disproportionate to other punishments that have been handed out to other clubs for arguably much worse offences. So it would be no surprise if many Leeds supporters were in complete agreement with the former Crystal Palace owner.