Fans are the owners of football, says Leeds United head coach Marcelo Bielsa

LEEDS UNITED head coach Marcelo Bielsa stressed that the true owners of football are the supporters - after offering his take on the incendiary decision of 12 clubs to announce plans to set up a breakaway European Super League - which had threatened a civil war across the world game.

Leeds United head coach Marcelo Bielsa pictured on the touchline during his side's draw with Liverpool. Picture: Simon Hulme.
Leeds United head coach Marcelo Bielsa pictured on the touchline during his side's draw with Liverpool. Picture: Simon Hulme.

Among that number were United’s opponents Liverpool, who played out a 1-1 Premier League draw at Elland Road.

A dramatic finish saw Diego Llorente hit a deserved late equaliser for Leeds to cancel out Sadio Mane’s opener just after the half-hour mark.

Earlier, around 700 supporters gathered outside the stadium ahead of the game - both Leeds and Liverpool fans - to demonstrate against the proposed league, which threatens the well-being of domestic football in this country.

An aeroplane displaying the message ‘Say No to Super League’ flew over Elland Road ahead of the game.

Liverpool are one of ‘the big six’ English clubs who have signed up to the new league, which has provoked mass outrage across the United Kingdom and Europe.

Leeds players wore “Football is for the Fans’ T-shirts when they warmed up and the garments were also placed in the Liverpool dressing room before the game, but not worn.

Bielsa said: “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 would disappear.

“Any decision that attacks all these people who are fans of football, (business) privilege is only one sector and stake in the future.

“Of course, there are different teams more important than others, but they (all ESL clubs) should be conscious of the needs that we need each other because football always has a view which is more commercial now.

"It is natural in the world of business (to) look at only the economical aspect that the ones who produce the most demand the majority of it. That is something that is common in the world of business, but football is not only a business.

“Of course, it causes harm to football. This should not surprise any of us.

“The stronger teams think they have the most influence to generate revenue in football and if you take 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 about the rest.

“These big teams have made themselves big throughout history. But they have done this in conjunction with the rest of the teams that even if they did not make themselves big teams, they did it with them.

“I think there are structures which should put limits on those excesses for the big teams. What has happened was inevitable.

“But it should not surprise us as this happens in all walks of life.”

On the placing of T-shirts in the away dressing room, Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp said: "I don't think it is right. They put them in our dressing room, I don't think we deserved that. I don't like the way a lot of people are talking about Liverpool.

"This is a fantastic football club. In this specific moment we can't blame the team for that. I take the criticism for everything, but this we have nothing to do with.

"Now people write articles about what they should do with it. People are shouting at us. We have to be careful because we are people as well. We have to be careful. I understand all the talk and I don't like it as well.

"Don't forget we have nothing to do with it. We still have to play football. It is really not OK. Our owners are great people, they will try to explain the decisions. Will I understand it? I don't know, but it is still not my decision.

"I coach a football team. If people want to criticise me, completely fine. But other things, it is not OK. Everyone should not forget."

On the game, Bielsa commented: “I think the game was beautiful. In the first half, it was more even and in the second half, we managed to dominate proceedings and create goalscoring opportunities in the opponents’ half.

“While it was also true that while we managed proceedings, they maintained their threat.

“Diego played a very good game and the fact he scored a goal added shine to his performance. The ball (corner) was very well struck by (Jack) Harrison and when he arrived on such a run with such power, the player who arrives like this has an advantage.”