Early news surrounding the absence of Jack Grealish for yesterday’s game against Leicester City led to Dean Smith commenting on the situation after their 2-1 defeat.
“I’ve been made aware that on social media there were some rumours that he wasn’t going to play. If it’s coming out of our training ground, then I find out where it is coming from and reprimand where it’s coming from.”
In his Monday Athletic article, David Ornstein has linked the leak to the incredibly popular Fantasy Football games played by fans and players alike. The issue is that news is in the public arena and if players of the game know where to find it, then it is highly likely opposition clubs to do. A problem that has been discussed at boardroom level by clubs in the Premier League and one of increasing concern.
The England international, one of the star players of the season both on the pitch and in the game, stopped training towards the end of last week and it seemed as though his availability for the game was a doubt for all who were there.
Here in lies the problem, three of his team mates, Matt Target, Conor Hourihane and Neil Taylor all took him out of their Fantasy football teams. Other members of the Aston Villa inner circle, Scott Adey Linforth the first -team performance analyst and physio Rob Marshall did likewise.
Other clubs suffering
This isn’t an isolate case. Leeds United also had an incident this week when captain Liam Cooper transferred out Gjanni Alioski, who had played 17 games in a row, out of his side, ahead of a week where they played two games.
Eagle eyed users of website Reddit had been monitoring teams run by Leeds players and staff and made changes accordingly and Man United and Fulham had also had changes highlighted by “insider” social media accounts.
There is no evidence to suggest that the Premier League will stop players playing the game, but clubs are considering asking players and staff to not pick players from their own clubs as it could provide crucial information to opponents.
Unfair advantageEarly news surrounding the absence of Jack Grealish for yesterday’s game against Leicester City led to Dean Smith commenting on the situation after their 2-1 defeat.“I’ve been made aware that on social media there were some rumours that he wasn’t going to play. If it’s coming out of our training ground, then I findFootball (soccer) greatest goals and highlights | 101 Great Goals – Feed