London: Manchester City officials have reportedly found out that their worldwide scouting database, called Scout7, could have been hacked by an employee of a rival Premier League club.
Etihad Stadium officials are thought to have brought in espionage experts to investigate the security breach of their online performance analysis system, which holds detailed scouting reports of every player they have targeted at home and around the globe.
With new boss Manuel Pellegrini set to take charge, the report said that an investigation is now under way to uncover the full extent of the security breach, how it happened and who the culprits are.
The report further said that the discovery could have serious repercussions for the Premier League over what appears to be an astonishing breach of professional ethics as with Premier League football being a multi-billion pound business, clubs take their pursuit of new players seriously.
And with player values rocketing globally, slick scouting operations are seen as vital to the on and off-pitch success of clubs who have placed a major importance on scouting and player recruitment.
Although there is no suggestion the Scout7 operating system is in any way at fault, the report believes that confidential professional and personal details of all City`s potential transfer targets may have been accessed by individuals working for a rival club, compromising possible deals and alerting others to players on City`s scouting radar.
Stating that the scouting industry as a whole is quite a small one, a Premier League chief scout said that clubs sometimes know which players are being checked out and by which clubs, adding that football being a big money business, having concrete information on players being scouted by rivals could help a club register their own interest in them.