On Monday night, Leeds United controversially won the FIFA Fair Play Award at The Best awards in Milan!
Every year FIFA hold an awards evening where the world best male and female players are recognised. The biggest awards of the evening are Player, which Messi won this year, Manager and Team of the year. However, these aren’t the only awards they have.
They also have a Fair Play Award. By definition of FIFA, the award is for ‘recognition of exemplary behaviour that promotes the spirit of fair play and compassion in association football around the world’. Previous winners of this award have been Gary Lineker in 1990 for having a 15 year career without receiving a single booking. Last years winner was Lennart Thy. The German footballer missed a league game in order to donate stem cells for a cancer patient.
Some of the winners over the past few years have been for some unbelievable acts in football. Leeds won the award this season for allowing Aston Villa to score after they did when a Villa player was injured. However, winning this award has let too much debate considering their actions on the day and earlier on in the season.
As you can see in the video, Leeds initially didn’t kick the ball out of play and went on and scored. This then lead to a fight between the two teams, not the most fair play thing we’ve ever seen! Arguments could be seen all over the pitch between the players, managers and back room staff.
It took around five minutes for the situation to diffuse with both sides coming together many more times. After much discussion, Marco Bielsa the Leeds manager, decided to let Aston Villa score. However, Leeds’ captain Pontus Janson wasn’t too keen on the idea. He could be seen trying to stop Villa from scoring. This was also accompanied by many boo’s from the Leeds fans.
A nice gesture from Leeds and their manager, but a fair few moments on unsportsmanlike behaviour too!
Earlier on in the season though, Bielsa’s side had been caught out spying. They had sent a spy to go and watch Derby training as they had a big game coming up against them soon. This was met with lots of criticism and even the Leeds member of staff getting arrested.
Bielsa held a big press conference where he showed he didn’t need to spy on the opposition and that he already had everything he needed to know about Derby. The EFL also weren’t best pleased with this. They went on to fine Leeds £200,000 but no point deduction.
This definitely wouldn’t have won them many awards and many are questioning wether they should have been allowed to win one as a result.
However, Leeds and Bielsa won’t care. They are currently top of the Championship and are looking to win a bigger award in the league title. They are currently the outright favourites to win the league on Betfred at 11/10. Their closest competition is Fulham who are way back at 5/1!