It’s official, ‘Dirty Leeds’ play fair.
The Championship side were surprise winners of the Fair Play gong at the Best FIFA awards.
Leeds and manager Marcelo Bielsa won plaudits in April for allowing Aston Villa a free goal in the game and the act of sportsmanship has been recognised officially.
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 coach is currently in his second season at Elland Road and caused a stir in January when he admitted to having watched all of United’s opponents train in an incident dubbed ‘Spygate’.
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.
When Leeds became a dominant force during the 1960s and 1970s under Don Revie, the club earned the title ‘Dirty Leeds’ for their disciplinary record.
When announced as winners, Gary Lineker tweeted a spy emoji in reply to the announcement.