Football

Leeds United head coach Steve Evans, pictured, has backed Massimo Cellino in his row over TV coverage.

Leeds boss Steve Evans backs Massimo Cellino in TV coverage row

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Head coach Steve Evans has backed Leeds owner Massimo Cellino in his bitter dispute with the Football League over the number of times his side have been televised live by Sky Sports.

Cellino, who attempted a television black-out for Tuesday night's 2-2 home draw with promotion-chasing Derby before relenting at the 11th hour to let cameras into Elland Road, is furious at the disruption caused to players, staff and fans by rescheduled fixtures.

"I understand the two sides of the argument," said Evans after watching his side extend their unbeaten run to six matches.

"I understand any broadcaster's wish to have Leeds United on the TV because of the audience it brings.

"I'm only talking from a sporting perspective here, but you can't ask us to be away at Wolves on a Thursday night and get back in the middle of the night and turn up on a Sunday down at Nottingham Forest, a really tough place on an evening, 48 hours later."

When asked if he thought Sky had had good value for money after Tuesday night's thrilling 2-2 draw with promotion-chasing Derby, Evans said: "I think if he'd have really tried to ban them they wouldn't have got in.

"Our president has made his stance clear. He's got things he wants to discuss with the Football League and that lies at boardroom level and I don't get involved in that.

"I just thought the scheduling in recent times purely from a football perspective and from a players' point of view, wasn't right.

"I want the Leeds United supporters to watch fresh Leeds United players, to watch players who are really inside their skins and not in for rub-downs two or three times yesterday and two or three times during the coarse of today, just to try and give their limbs the energy to get out there.

"If you put this game on 24 hours from now we would have seen the last 15 minutes out.

"I don't doubt that. I watched in the lead up to their (equalising) goal and Derby had players breaking off us, completely fresh and my players are running on empty fuel tanks.

"With another 24 hours we would have seen a different result. I feel sorry for the likes of Middlesbrough and Brighton.

"All we ask is that people treat us in the same proper way as everybody else in the Championship."

Cellino had earlier claimed he is "trying to protect the club" after instructing club staff to deny Sky Sports' production crew entry to Elland Road ahead of the game.

"I'm trying to protect the club," he told the Daily Mirror from his home in Miami.

"I have beautiful people working with me now and beautiful players - not overpaid as before.

"I have to do my job in looking after the club because nobody did it before."

The Football League had threatened Leeds with action if they followed through with their plan to lock Sky out, but Leeds claimed in a statement that the governing body was bringing its own competitions into disrepute.

Tuesday's game with Derby was Leeds' 10th game of the season to be shown on the Sky network, with two more scheduled for early 2016. Derby are the only other side with a dozen games either shown or slated.

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Topics:
Championship
Leeds United
Football

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