Leeds United managing director Angus Kinnear has railed against Jurgen Klopp as the fallout of Harvey Elliott’s injury and Pascal Struijk’s red card continues to unfold.
Elliott suffered a serious ankle injury as a result of the tackle and has undergone surgery, although the midfielder insisted Struijk was not at fault.
Leeds appealed the decision but the Football Association upheld the red card and Struijk’s three-game ban, leaving the injury-struck Whites even lighter in defence ahead of Saturday’s 2-1 defeat by West Ham.
The fixture may have occurred many weeks ago but Elland Road chiefs remain furious, with Kinnear accusing Klopp of influencing referee Craig Pawson.
The German manager left his technical area and seemed to plead for Struijk to be punished before he was escorted back to the touchline.
Klopp’s calls were answered as the 22-year-old was given his marching orders, with Kinnear still seething over the incident.
“The addlepated refereeing of the incident was compounded by the anonymity of VAR and the failure of the subsequent appeal process,” Kinnear wrote in his pre-West Ham programme notes.
“I believe we made a compelling case that a tackle that was not even viewed as a foul by any of the officials, the opposing players and a crowd of 37,000 could retrospectively be deemed as a dismissal on the strength of an assessment of the seriousness of the injury.
“One of the panel of three agreed that there is an inherent risk to the welfare of the player in every challenge and that therefore the tackle was not serious foul play.
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“Conversely, the remaining two delegates did not agree. They argued that it was an obvious refereeing error and may have inadvertently set a precedent that any serious injuries that occur during physical contact must be met with disciplinary action.
“Following the panel’s decision, we were left with no other recourse than to humbly request to the Premier League that opposing head coaches are not selected to officiate any more of our games for the remainder of the season.”
Although Leeds are clearly still livid about Struijk’s red card and ban, Kinnear tempered his comments with a message for Elliott, who is facing many months on the sidelines.
“Obviously, our concern was for the welfare of Harvey Elliott, whose response, both at the time and subsequently on social media, proves he has as much class off the pitch as he has on it,” wrote Kinnear.
“We were all pleased to hear that his prognosis was not as bad as first feared and he will be back again next season.”