Leeds United boss Marcelo Bielsa has launched a fierce attack on the European Super League by stating that “the real owners of football are the ones who love the badge” and without them “football would disappear”.
Twelve clubs, including Liverpool, made the bombshell announcement on Sunday that they intend to break away and form their own competition. Manchester United, Manchester City, Chelsea, Arsenal and Tottenham have also signed up. Indeed, the big three in Spain and Italy make up the 12 “founding” members.
The new league has sparked uproar across the football world, with Jamie Carragher and Gary Neville both launching into the owners of Liverpool and United respectively. And Gunners great Ian Wright is equally unhappy with events at the Emirates.
Leeds made their own protest before Monday’s 1-1 draw with Liverpool. Fans of both clubs joined forces to protest outside the ground, while a T-shirt stunt from Leeds United did little to impress Jurgen Klopp.
Leeds owner Andrea Radrizzani has also revealed his dismay at the proposals on social media earlier in the day. As such, Bielsa applauded the Italian’s stance.
“The president of the club puts his foot forward to limit the power of these big clubs,” Bielsa said. “This is something to celebrate. Of course there are different teams, some more important than others, but they should be conscious of the needs that we need each other. But because football always has a view which is more commercial now, it’s natural in the world of businesses, looking only at the economic aspect, that the ones that produce the most, demand the majority of it.”
Bielsa insists the real owners of football are the supporters who love the badge.
“That’s something that is common in the world of business, but football is not only a business. But before or after it was going to happen because football belongs to everybody, even if there are owners. The real owners of football are the ones who love the badge and without them football will disappear.
“Any decisions that attacks all these people, who are all the fans of football and that privileges only one sector is staking the future.”
Bielsa sympathy for Klopp over European Super League
Bielsa also insists it was wrong that Liverpool left Klopp to answer questions about the decision to join the ESL.
“The responsibility is the ones who are in charge of the structures,” Bielsa added. “The ones who take advantage of what they see fit. When football is conceived as a business, this is something very common in the world of business, so the structures have to be in place so this doesn’t happen. After this is going to generate a huge polemic. And let’s see who takes to the defence of the fans.
“Because this is not simply that the most powerful are keeping the majority of the revenue in full. They do this by impeding the rest of the teams to get this.
“The important thing is the protection of the fans. That they observe in astonishment over something that can create a lot of emotion for them is in a place where the only important thing is the economics.
“There is no point in extending so much in this because it happens at all levels and it was inevitable that it would happen.”