Sunday 24 February 2019

Donegal man caught up a tree at Kerry training and four other 'spying' incidents in sport

Harry Clarke

Leeds coach Marcelo Bielsa upped the ante in the 'spygate' row on Wednesday when he admitted he had snooped on every team his side had faced this season.

Police were called to Derby's training ground last Thursday to escort away a man "acting suspiciously" on the perimeter of the complex, later confirmed to be an employee of Leeds.

Bielsa later admitted that he was responsible for the decision to spy on Derby, and said at an impromptu briefing on Wednesday that it was part of his preparation for every Championship match so far.

Here is a look at occasions where teams and individuals tried to gain an extra edge.

Man caught up a tree spying on Kerry training ahead of All Ireland final in 2014

A MAN was spotted by members of the Kerry backroom team perched on a tree while a 'behind closed doors' training session was taking place.

The Donegal man was close to then manager Jim McGuinness and was rumbled when members of the Kerry back room team heard the noise of rustling branches coming from the grounds of St Fenan's Hospital, the now vacant psychiatric unit adjacent to Fitzgerald Stadium where the senior squad trains.

Kerry beat Donegal in the All Ireland final a few days later.

The original Spygate (Formula One)

McLaren were fined 100 million US dollars and thrown out of the constructors' championship in 2007 for being in illegal possession of Ferrari's entire technical data. The 780-page dossier was leaked to McLaren by disgruntled Ferrari engineer Nigel Stepney. Fernando Alonso, who was caught up in the email exchange of the illicit information, threatened to tell all to the sport's world governing body the FIA unless he was granted number one status over Lewis Hamilton - a demand that brought about his acrimonious departure from the British team after just one season. Stepney meanwhile, was sentenced in Italy to 20 months in prison. He died in a road accident in 2014, aged 56.

British and Irish Lions tour (rugby union)

Lions head coach Warren Gatland claimed his side's training sessions prior to their warm-up match against Queensland Reds and ahead of the three-Test tour against Australia in 2013 had been recorded on video. Gatland said members of his coaching staff chased away a mystery man, attempting to film his squad. Australia denied any wrongdoing and accused the Lions of creating a sideshow. Gatland later back-tracked on his initial claims.

Genoa coach "hid like Rambo" to spy on rivals (football)

Back in 2013, Italian side Genoa suspended one of their coaches after he was found spying on a training session held by city rivals Sampdoria. Luca De Pra, a youth-team coach, was said to be hiding in bushes while dressed in camouflage gear. In a statement, Sampdoria said De Pra was hiding like "Rambo under a tree". Genoa, who denied any knowledge of De Pra's activities, won the ensuing match 3-0.

Man detained ahead of England World Cup semi-final (football)

A man was arrested ahead of England's World Cup semi-final against Croatia last summer, suspected of spying on Gareth Southgate's side. The man was accused of acting suspiciously on a roof, 180 metres away from England's training base. He was asked to delete panorama photos and then released without charge.

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