Leeds United manager Marcelo Bielsa wins Panathlon Wallonie-Bruxelles’ Fair Play award


Panathlon Wallonie-Bruxelles has handed a Fair Play award to Leeds United manager Marcelo Bielsa for his decision to allow Aston Villa score unmarked during a Championship clash last term at Elland Road.

The Argentine was earlier awarded the FIFA Fair Play award for instructing his players to allow Villa to immediately draw level uncontested after his side had taken the lead with an opposition player down injured in April.

Mateusz Klich had put Leeds ahead while Villa forward Jonathan Kodjia was down injured.

Klich’s goal led to a scuffle between both sets of players, with Anwar El Ghazi getting sent off for the visitors.

When play restarted, Villa star Albert Adomah was allowed to run through and level the game, although centre-back Pontus Jansson still tried and failed to tackle the Villa winger at the last minute – a decision that irked Bielsa.

Despite Bielsa’s selfless demonstration of what fair play should be, many felt he shouldn’t have been nominated for the award – talkless of winning it.

Leeds were fined after their head coach sent a member of his staff to Derby County’s training ground to watch a session ahead of their league fixture in January, and many felt that was enough reason for him not to have won the award.

Nevertheless, FIFA and Panathlon Wallonie-Bruxelles have decided to reward such show of fairness that was on display against Villa during such a crucial stage of the campaign.

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