Leeds boss Marcelo Bielsa says difficult to decide morality of playing during pandemic

Leeds head coach Marcelo Bielsa on football continuing during the coronavirus pandemic: "It's very difficult to say that it's wrong and it's also very difficult to say that it's correct"; Leeds play at Crawley in the third round of the FA Cup on Saturday

Crawley Town vs Leeds, PA
Image: Leeds boss Marcelo Bielsa recognises there is a moral argument to suspend elite football amid the coronavirus pandemic

Leeds boss Marcelo Bielsa admitted it is difficult to decide the morality of playing football during the current spike in coronavirus cases.

Newcastle manager Steve Bruce said in an earlier press conference on Friday that "financially it's right but maybe morally it's wrong" for the game to continue.

Bielsa, whose side play at Crawley in the third round of the FA Cup on Sunday, agreed there were two sides to the debate.

"That's a very difficult question," he said. "To give you an answer on the morality of the decision, I don't feel capable of doing it.

"It's very difficult to say that it's wrong and it's also very difficult to say that it's correct.

"It's good that football continues because you're giving entertainment to those who are affected, and not affected, in the population.

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"But you can also say that, for example, if one of the children of a football player becomes infected because they have continued to play football...

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"That's why the authorities who are responsible for all the segments in the country make these decisions."

West Brom manager Sam Allardyce suggested elite football should be suspended at the end of last month over concerns for his own health and "football in general".

Bielsa said: "I understand the comment that Sam Allardyce made - it's an absolutely logical thought.

"With regards to a possible circuit-breaker, I think those who are in charge, the authorities and the Government, I don't think they take risks."

The Argentinian said that elite football was a "small but privileged section" and added: "I trust that the decisions that are being made are being taken with reflection and consideration."

He said club rules did not allow him to comment on whether any Leeds players or staff members had tested positive for Covid-19.

Leeds, 12th in the Premier League after last week's 3-0 defeat at Tottenham, will be hoping to avoid a potential FA Cup banana skin at League Two side Crawley.

Heung-min Son celebrates scoring Tottenham's second
Image: Leeds are looking to bounce back in the FA Cup from a 3-0 defeat at Tottenham

The West Yorkshire club have fallen victim to giant-killers Newport, Sutton and Rochdale in recent seasons and crashed out at non-league Histon in 2008.

Skipper Liam Cooper is back in contention after missing the last three games due to an abdominal injury, but fellow centre-half Diego Llorente will not be risked.

Spain international Llorente is edging closer to his full debut for the club after a recent setback in his recovery from a second muscle strain.

Bielsa confirmed forward Tyler Roberts was unavailable and that he will not be handing any debuts to fringe players at Crawley.

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