Updates from Friday, April 18
Crystal Palace legend Dougie Freedman has reportedly been named as the man who informed Cardiff that vital team information had been leaked ahead of their 3-0 defeat at the start of April.
The Daily Mail's Neil Ashton reports:
In a five-page letter delivered to the Premier League on Thursday, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer alleged that Freedman, now Bolton boss, was accidentally sent a text by Palace’s sporting director Iain Moody containing the Cardiff team in the days before the clubs met on April 5.
Cardiff’s complaint includes a text from Moody naming midfielder Aron Gunnarsson as the source of the information.
Cardiff claim it reads: ‘Straight from Gunnarsson their line up is 4-4-2 Marshall, KTC, Caulker, Turner, Taylor, Daehli, Medel, Mutch, Zaha, Campbell, Jones.’
Gunnarsson and his agent are reported to have denied passing on the team line-up, while a well-placed Cardiff source said: ‘We do not believe Aron supplied this information.’
Instead, the club believe a member of staff was responsible for leaking the team and claim further that Moody attempted to contact at least three of their employees. Moody has strenuously denied contacting Cardiff employees.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said on Friday Cardiff will offer full support to the reported source of the leak, Aron Gunnarsson. PA Sport (h/t ESPN FC) quoted Solskjaer saying:
We will defend his name and reputation to the edge of the cliff, definitely. He will be involved in the squad, definitely. He is there training. He will be involved unless he gets an injury.
Tony Pulis attempted to quash all speculation surrounding the game, insisting his Palace side was named days before they travelled to Cardiff, per the Daily Mirror's Neil McLeman:
As a manager and as a coach, I log every session that I do and I'll be taking those sessions up to the Premier League to show that I picked my team on Monday before we played Cardiff on the Saturday.
That team was worked with for a week and there were no changes in it whatsoever.
Updates from Thursday, April 17
Cardiff are hoping to have their 3-0 defeat to Crystal Palace wiped off the slate, according to BBC Sports Editor David Bond.
Bond tweeted the following of Cardiff's intentions, based on the fact they believe vital team information was leaked to Palace prior to the game:
BREAKING: I have obtained full details of Cardiff's spying claims against Crystal Palace. Across BBC shortly— David Bond (@DavidBondBBC) April 17, 2014
Cardiff say their 3-0 defeat by Crystal Palace should not be allowed to stand because their team was leaked to their rivals before the game— David Bond (@DavidBondBBC) April 17, 2014
Bond elaborated in his article for BBC Sport:
The document, sent by club lawyers to the Premier League, alleges Palace boss Tony Pulis knew sporting director Iain Moody was trying to obtain Cardiff's starting line-up before the game.
The club claims it has proof Moody succeeded and says this breaches league rules. Pulis declined to comment when contacted by the BBC, although Palace previously denied the claims.
Cardiff City are still unsettled by the alleged leaking of lineup information ahead of last weekend's key relegation clash with Crystal Palace and have now asked the Premier League to investigate the matter.
The Press Association (via Eurosport UK) reports club chairman Mehmet Dalman has already spoke with league officials about the situation. Manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer wasn't interested in talking about the situations, deflecting any questions to the chairman:
I just pass you on to Mehmet. Speak to the chairman.
I have got no reason to doubt any player's professionalism, honesty, integrity, loyalty.
I am not talking about Crystal Palace. We've got Southampton, and that's my job to get ready for that game.
Although the exact nature of the leaks remains unclear, the report states there's a belief former Cardiff employee and current Palace sporting director Iain Moody was about to use his contacts in and around the club to obtain the opposing starting lineup ahead of time.
Bob Beasley of The Sun notes Moody has denied any rules were broken and stated "I don't think I have done anything wrong."
Nevertheless, Cardiff are taking the situation very seriously and have already begun to make internal changes based on information discovered.
Terry Phillips of Wales Online reports one member of the club's staff has already been dismissed and another is under further investigation and could be disciplined. A club source stated clear evidence showing misconduct was found:
This is nothing to do with the result against Palace. They were good and we were poor, but it’s certainly not sour grapes. The evidence is heavy.
The club has a copy of an SMS message sent which includes the exact team Solskjaer was going to start with.
The BBC provides word that an official complaint hasn't been lodged by Cardiff. Instead, the club is simply asking the Premier League to look into the evidence and allegations to see if there's reason to move forward with a deeper investigation.
Should the Premier League investigate the leak?
Ultimately, without knowing all of the information allegedly passed between the sides ahead of the match, it's tough to predict if the issue will become something bigger. The fact Cardiff is already making changes shows they are not taking it lightly.
Based on the information provided by the sources to Wales Online, the evidence suggests it's something that goes beyond Cardiff simply being unhappy with the result. It will probably take some time before they find out if the Premier League agrees.
As for now, Cardiff must focus on trying to elevate their form down the stretch if they want to dig out of a relegation hole.