Marcelo Bielsa: Fans should not return until every club can welcome them back

PA

Marcelo Bielsa believes fans should continue to be banned from all Premier League matches until every club is allowed to have them back in.

Under the Government’s new tier system in England to tackle the spread of coronavirus, Brighton, Chelsea, Liverpool and West Ham will be able to allow supporters into their stadiums for their first Premier League matches in December.

Those clubs are within tier two areas, meaning they can welcome in up to 2,000 fans. The city of Leeds is currently in category three, which does not permit the return of supporters.

Bielsa said: “Perhaps there could be a rule that states that if fans are not allowed in all stadiums, then they should not be allowed in at all until everybody is allowed to have them in.”

Bielsa agreed that “it was correct” that no supporters should be allowed in to watch matches at Elland Road under Leeds’ category three status, but said it was not fair to punish fans of clubs which were in higher risk areas.

“It shouldn’t be about the category, or the consequences of being in a category, it should be about trying to maintain the competition as equal as possible with things that are controllable,” Bielsa said.

“I am just looking at common sense, which perhaps doesn’t go. The presence of the fans has an effect on the results.

“What the organisation says is people who are from places where there’s a higher risk of infection, it means they will be penalised.”

Bielsa, who paid a heart-felt tribute to countryman Diego Maradona following his death on Wednesday at the age of 60, was this week nominated for a Best FIFA Football Award.

The Leeds head coach was named on a five-man shortlist for the manager’s award and praised both his players and coaching staff.

“To be nominated is always a distinction. I appreciate it,” said the 65-year-old. “Every time a manager is singled out, the players are involved because the coach is always an appendix of the players.

Pablo Hernandez has not recovered from a muscle strain and will not feature at Everton
Pablo Hernandez has not recovered from a muscle strain and will not feature at Everton

“Also the technical staff because of their construction of the football team. It’s not solely the responsibility of the one in charge.”

Leeds will bid for their first win in four league games at Everton on Saturday evening and will still be without Pablo Hernandez (muscle strain), Diego Llorente (groin) and Jamie Shackleton (thigh).

Forward Rodrigo is pushing for a recall to the starting line-up. The club-record signing stepped off the bench in last Sunday’s goalless home draw against Arsenal after recovering from coronavirus.

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