Frank Lampard admitted he was shocked to see Marcelo Bielsa and Leeds win the FIFA Fair Play Award in the wake of the ‘Spygate’ scandal.
Argentinian Bielsa and his club were recognised at the governing body’s annual award ceremony in Milan for allowing Aston Villa to score an uncontested goal.
However, Leeds were earlier this year fined £200,000 and given a severe reprimand by the English Football League after manager Bielsa sent a member of his staff to spy on a Derby training session.
Chelsea boss Lampard, who was Rams manager at the time of the West Yorkshire side’s undercover operation in January, branded the fair play accolade “strange”.
Asked if he choked on his breakfast cereal when he heard the news, Lampard replied: “I did smile. Do we know who votes for these things?
“What happened with Spygate was very well documented, and then they got fined, the rules changed slightly because of it, I felt it was improper.
“To get a fair play award off the back of that is…I thought it was irony at first.
🙌 #LUFC captain Liam Cooper and fitness coach Benoit Delaval collect the @FIFAcom Fair Play Award on behalf of Marcelo and the squad for their actions against Aston Villa last season pic.twitter.com/0oWFNUJXPq
— Leeds United (@LUFC) September 23, 2019
“It was a strange decision for them to win that.
“I think everyone had the same reaction (to the fair play award), to be fair, because a lot of news was put to Spygate.
“And I think quite rightly so and it got dealt with in the right way, so when you go and give an award for fair play in the same year then I don’t think it’s right.”
In April, Leeds allowed Villa to walk the ball into their net during a Sky Bet Championship match at Elland Road.
Angry scenes had broken out minutes earlier after the home side looked set to stop play because of an injury to Jonathan Kodjia before playing on and scoring through Mateusz Klich.
“The moment in itself when you look back, I remember watching the game, it was a dead rubber against Villa,” added Lampard.
“It was quite right that they give Villa the opportunity to score, quite right to level out the balance of what had happened.”
While he had plenty to say on Bielsa and Leeds, Lampard was far less forthcoming on another matter relating to former club Derby.
The 41-year-old refused to comment when asked about Tuesday evening’s car crash which left Rams captain Richard Keogh sidelined for the rest of the season due to a serious knee injury.
Derby condemned the “alcohol-related incident” in which two other senior players – Tom Lawrence and Mason Bennett – were charged with drink-driving following a team bonding session.
Lampard, who managed the trio at Pride Park last season, said: “No answer for that one.
“It would have been similar last year if you’d asked me about Chelsea, whether I did talk a little bit or not.
“But it shouldn’t be something to talk about, especially a situation like this. So, no, not for me.”