Cardiff City: Crystal Palace result should not stand, says Welsh club
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Cardiff’s 3-0 defeat by Crystal Palace in early April should not be allowed to stand, the Welsh club has said in a five-page letter seen by the BBC.
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.
“This was not merely an attempt to obtain confidential information – Crystal Palace succeeded in their efforts and achieved an unexpected 3-0 win over the club”
Cardiff’s allegation, in a letter to the Premier League
The Premier League has confirmed it has received a formal complaint from Cardiff and is assessing the evidence to see if there is a case to answer.
If Cardiff’s complaint is upheld, this would effectively mean a three-point deduction for Palace that, despite their 3-2 win at Everton on Wednesday, could have implications, not only for the south London club, but for many other teams fighting against relegation.
Palace are 11th in the table, while Cardiff are 19th, three points from safety.
Cardiff alleges the events leading up to the game on 5 April raise serious questions, not only about the conduct of staff at both clubs but about the integrity of the game between the two teams.
Moody has already publicly denied attempting to obtain the Cardiff line-up, or directly contacting anyone at the club.
Cardiff’s 2013-14 run-in
- Sat 19 April: v Stoke (H)
- Sun 27 April: v Sunderland (A)
- Sat 3 May: v Newcastle (A)
- Sun 11 May: v Chelsea (H)
Despite that, Cardiff insists Moody, a former director of recruitment at the Welsh club, phoned a former colleague, performance analyst Enda Barron, on 3 April. It is alleged he called to ask Barron if he could help him obtain the team for the match against Palace.
Although Barron told Cardiff he was unable to provide Moody with the information, he has since left the club. Cardiff claims Moody induced Baron into breaching his contract. Barron was unavailable for comment.
Cardiff alleges that by Friday, 4 April – a day before the match – Moody had obtained the starting line-up from another source. This is based on a follow-up conversation between Moody and Barron in which the Palace sporting director told him he now had the team.
It is this exchange that forms the basis of the claim against Pulis, as Moody is alleged to have told Barron he had to go elsewhere for the information because he was “under pressure from Pulis”.
Cardiff then claims Moody mistakenly sent a text message with the starting XI to Bolton manager Dougie Freedman a day before the game.
Freedman is said to have tipped off Bluebirds boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer about the leak because they are friends, having attended coaching courses together.
While Aron Gunnarsson is named as the source of the leak in the Moody text, the Cardiff player has denied to the club that he was behind it. His agent, Jerry de Koning, has also denied leaking the team.
For now, Cardiff has accepted the explanations and does not know who gave Moody the information. One of the reasons it wants the Premier League to investigate is to find out who might be responsible.
The text message allegedly read: “Straight from Gunnarsson their line up is 4-4-2 Marshall, KTC, Caulker, Turner, Taylor, Daehli, Medel, Mutch, Zaha, Campbell, Jones”.
This turned out to be the exact starting line-up for the game against Palace. It contained three changes from their previous Premier League match, against West Bromwich Albion on 29 March.
Cardiff says that, in a meeting last week, Solskjaer placed on record the details of a brief exchange between him and Pulis immediately after the game at the Cardiff City Stadium.
It is claimed Solskjaer said to Pulis: “I am disgusted that your head of recruitment [Moody] is texting one of my players to get our team.”
Pulis allegedly responded: “Oooh, I know. I didn’t ask for it.”
Cardiff claims this is evidence Pulis knew about the team well in advance of the set time for the exchange of team-sheets on the day of the game – one hour before kick-off.
According to Cardiff, all this amounts to a serious breach of the spirit of the Premier League’s chairman’s charter, which requires clubs to behave with “utmost good faith and honesty to each other”.
Palace’s 2013-14 run-in
- Sat 19 April: v West Ham (A)
- Sun 27 April:v Man City (H)
- Sat 3 May: v Liverpool (H)
- Sun 11 May: v Fulham (A)
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