Coronavirus: Leeds United defend open-top bus celebrations outside Elland Road amid fans' fury

July 23, 2020

Leeds United bosses have defended holding an open-bus celebration for players as they were crowned Championship title winners.

The football club had urged supporters to stay away from their Elland Road stadium last night ahead of their final match of the season against Charlton.

But regardless, thousands still gathered outside to celebrate the side's promotion to the Premier League.

Following the match, they were met by players who appeared cheering and waving from an open-top bus.

Some social media users were deeply critical of the move, one tweeting: "Disgusting. 560 new cases of coronavirus today. Bet they all clapped for the NHS too didn't they? Horrible."

Another said they had been "robbed" of the chance to celebrate properly, calling the move "an utter disgrace".

A third added: "I'll back Leeds United til the day I die, but this is poor from the club".

Meanwhile, another wrote: "I'm a season ticket holder and I'd have given my left leg to have been in the ground tonight, but did what Leeds United said and stayed away, yet they reward those who do what they want and go out on an open top bus."

Leeds United later released a statement, saying they consulted the council about the move.

The bus was there to "assist dispersal should a crowd congregate at Elland Road", they added, pointing out there was a a "month-long campaign from the club and supporter groups to encourage supporters to stay at home".

"The safety group believed that a brief appearance from the players with the Championship trophy would help to signal an end to proceedings, encouraging fans to head home safely," the club said.

"In challenging circumstances fan safety has always been our priority."

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