European Super League: Leeds boss Bielsa warns of 'harm to football'

By Sports Desk April 20, 2021

The European Super League will bring "harm to football" and those involved are risking alienating the lifeblood of the sport – the fans.

That is the view of Leeds United boss Marcelo Bielsa, who launched a scathing attack on plans for a breakaway league after Leeds held member club Liverpool to a 1-1 draw on Monday.

Sunday's announcement was met with a huge backlash from supporters, governing bodies, non-member clubs, players, ex-professionals and pundits.

UEFA has threatened sanctions against the 12 clubs who have thus far signed up to the scheme, with Liverpool among them.

Reds boss Jurgen Klopp suggested he was no fan of the proposals, saying he would "try to help to sort it", while midfielder James Milner was more direct in his criticism, declaring: "I don't like it and hopefully it doesn't happen."

Bielsa then lent his voice to the chorus of disapproval as he lamented the greed and self-interest of the clubs spearheading the project.

"Of course it causes harm to football," he said. "This shouldn't surprise any of us.

"The stronger teams, these powerful teams think they have most influence and are generating most of the revenue in football.

"Taking into account this logic, when the rest of the teams are no longer necessary for them, they take privilege in their own interest and forget the rest.

"There are structures that should put limits on the excesses of the big teams. This was inevitable.

"The organisations could have anticipated these excesses and they could have avoided it. This shouldn't surprise us because this happens in all walks of life.

"Of course there are different teams, more important than others but they should be conscious of the needs of each other.

"But because football has a view that is always more commercial now, it is natural that in the world of businesses, looking only at the economic aspect, they demand the majority of it.

"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."

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    "We definitely want to keep Erling with us next season. You can see his value, you saw how committed he is last Saturday against Leipzig, with joy.

    "Besides we still have it in our own hands, we just have to win twice more now. We have managed the club solidly for so many years, when we go into the second or third year of the coronavirus, then we have to take out a few loans at some point we will pay them back.

    "But there is absolutely no economic need to sell him, regardless of whether it is a Europa League or Champions League."

    Watzke also casually revealed that interim head coach Edin Terzic had extended his deal with the club to presumably work as an assistant under Marco Rose.

    "Edin Terzic did a great job," he said. "He took over the team in December, it was half dead, and he brought it to life. That is a huge achievement at his first coaching station.

    "He's holding the keys in his hand. He extended a long-term contract a few weeks ago.

    "He's a Dortmund boy, he lives and breathes the club. If Edin wants to do something different, then we have to work with him. But we won't do that now."

    Terzic was delighted with the DFB-Pokal success but remained focused on the bigger picture, with Dortmund determined to confirm a top four league spot with two games to play.

    "That was definitely not our best game, but we found the key to success," he said.

    "Now we all deserve to enjoy this evening tonight but the season is not over for us yet."

    Outgoing Leipzig head coach Julian Nagelsmann, who will finish his time at the club without a trophy, said it was a "painful" loss.

    "You can imagine that I'm not doing well but it's not about me, it's about the club," he said.

    "It's painful. I know what the headlines are like now… We still have two Bundesliga games that are not that pleasant. I'm not thinking about my move [to Bayern Munich] now.

    "I'm proud of the boys. "We weren't the worse team, we just scored fewer goals. Dortmund makes a lot out of a little."

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