Leeds United‘s coach Marcelo Bielsa is among those who are not happy that spectators will be permitted to return to some Premier League match venues from December 3. His agitation is against the tiers system which permits fans to return to some stadiums and not in all.
Earlier today, the government of the United Kingdom published the tiers system which categorized stadiums into tier one, two, and three. No Premier League club fell under tier one which is a category that permits a maximum of 4,000 spectators. While 10 Premier League clubs fell under tier two which permits a maximum of 2,000 spectators.
Most of the Premier League teams that fell under tier two are clubs based in London and Merseyside. Unfortunately for Leeds United, the club’s stadium is not permitted to host fans because it is located in an area marked tier three.
Hence, the coach of the side, Marcelo Bielsa, believes that it is an undue advantage to the clubs that their stadiums are allowed to host fans. He argued that it would have been better if all the clubs are allowed to host spectators at the same time when it is safe to do so.
Recall that since the coronavirus pandemic forced football to a halt in March 2020 and then returned in June, clubs were forced to play behind closed doors. Due to the financial implications of not having fans at match venues, most Premier League clubs have been agitating for the return of fans.
Unfortunately for a club like Manchester United that has been at the forefront of the agitation for the return of fans, Old Trafford is categorized under tier three which means that the club will continue to play behind closed doors.
For Leeds’ coach, it is not the matter of which stadium fell under tier two or three, the most important thing is the inequality such a rule would bring to the league.
“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”, Marcelo Bielsa said.
“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 controllable things.
“I am just looking at common sense, which perhaps doesn’t go. The presence of the fans affects the results.”
COVID WINTER PLAN— Oliver Dowden (@OliverDowden) November 23, 2020
Sports fans back in stadia from 2nd Dec
4️⃣K or 50% of capacity in Tier 1
2️⃣K or 50% of capacity in Tier 2
A big step forward for fans as we work towards fuller capacities
Thanks to pilot hosts & fans for showing this can be done safely@HuddlestonNigel pic.twitter.com/YKJnc7JAx0
On the other hand, one of the coaches that will benefit from the new arrangement, Scott Parker of Fulham believes that the return of fans in the club’s Craven Cottage stadium will lift the spirit of the struggling club.
Parker said: “It’s a breath of fresh air, it’s what we all want. It’s what the fans want and what we want as a team.
“Hopefully from here, it progresses. But it’s everything, it’s why we play the game, to bring people together. It’s good news and hopefully, we’ll be on an upward curve now.
“We’ve had a long time without fans and we’re used to that environment so it might be a little bit strange at first. But in saying that we all understand the impact it has and the lift that atmosphere gives you.”
Fulham is currently 18th on the league table and might sink deeper if the return of fans at the club’s stadium doesn’t make any positive impact in the coming weeks.