Leeds manager Marcelo Bielsa speaks out on fixture saturation and the financial realities of football
Bielsa speaks out against football finances & fixture saturation as a result
Marcelo Bielsa has always been outspoken, and that is probably putting it mildly at best. But the loveable Argentine headmaster – who is already adored among the Leeds United faithful – has risen to the defense of the purity of football on the whole with his recent comments that have targeted the massive financial influence over the sport, and the resulting fixture saturation that has spawned from it.
When speaking in his pre-match press conference today in the run-up to Leeds hosting Liverpool at Elland Road, Bielsa spoke freely regarding the recent dispute between the Brazilian FA and a handful of Premier League clubs that refuses to release their players amidst Covid-19 concerns in the South American country.
On the Brazil dispute, Bielsa said the fundamental answer is that the calendar needs fewer games and people in football should accept lower wages and less money to make that happen. #lufc
— Phil Hay (@PhilHay_) September 10, 2021
But Bielsa did not stop there, further reflecting on the nature of a match calendar that is growing more and more saturated by the year.
“It’s convenient for the industry that there are a lot of games. They don’t care if players are saturated, injured or play badly because they play too much. The (answer) is that we should all earn less then we can have fewer games.”
With potential plans to have a biennial World Cup the Leeds manager certainly hit the nail on the head, given that such a change – though framed as an opportunity to have more tournaments and thus more chances for smaller nations to qualify for it – is certainly driven by the financial aspect of the game.
Reflecting on the positives of Saturday TV blackouts
Bielsa continued his assault on the footballing establishment during his presser when he reflected on the 3pm Saturday TV blackout rule, which he is a supporter of.
As reported by The Athletic’s Leeds United writer Phil Hay, the Argentine admires the rule and the positive effect it has on other levels of the game in England, with it being “magnificent” given that it helps prioritize other professional tiers in the English football pyramid over commercial income and business ties that are rooted in the Premier League.
There is no telling on what direction football on the domestic front – or across the globe – will continue to take, though we all suspect financial concerns will be the unquestionable driving factor. But it is indeed endearing to see that some big figures in the game are against the exploitation of their players and the prioritization of money over the simply joy the beautiful game can bring.