Steve Evans hits out at Football League over Leeds United’s Christmas schedule

Leeds United head coach (Picture: Tony Johnson).
Leeds United head coach (Picture: Tony Johnson).
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head coach Steve Evans has suggested the Football League are deliberately making life difficult for Leeds United in an attempt to prevent losing the Whites to the English Premier League.

United will face two Championship games in a little over 48 hours this weekend with Sunday tea-time’s trip to Nottingham Forest and Tuesday evening’s home clash with Derby County both moved by the Football League having been selected for broadcast on Sky.

Derby play their next fixture at 3pm on Boxing Day giving them an extra day’s recovery with Evans also angered by the demands of last Thursday evening’s trip to Wolves.

The Molineux encounter was also selected for live Sky coverage with the Football League subsequently changing the date of the game to less than three days before Sunday afternoon’s Elland Road clash with Preston, fixtures which Leeds still won.

United remain a big draw for TV revenue and crowds 11 years on from the club’s relegation from the Premier League and Evans said: “It was difficult enough to come out of Wolverhampton Wanderers, get back to Elland Road at three in the morning and then turn it around at Preston. Now we’re asked to do it again.

“But I suppose if you’re the biggest club in the Football League, the Football League perhaps want to keep you in the Football League.

“That’s how it feels when you’re in Elland Road.”

Leeds chairman Massimo Cellino is currently appealing an attempt by the League to ban him from running the club and hit out at the League at the end of October following Sky’s decision to televise 10 of the club’s fixtures before the turn of the year.

Cellino has written to the Football League requesting a copy of their broadcast deal with Sky, a demand which the governing body has so far resisted.

The Italian moved in October to cut Leeds’s ticket allocation for away games to 2,000 – a move which he said would affect the income of rival clubs – but reversed that decision quickly amid strong opposition from United’s support.