Leeds United and Kalvin Phillips play a part in major Chilean event thanks to Marcelo Bielsa's gesture

Leeds United have played their part in a major charity event in Chile thanks to Marcelo Bielsa.

By Graham Smyth
Sunday, 5th December 2021, 12:21 pm
Updated Sunday, 5th December 2021, 12:22 pm
KIND GESTURE - Marcelo Bielsa sent a Leeds United shirt signed by himself and Kalvin Phillips to be auctioned off at a major Chilean fundraiser. Pic: Getty
KIND GESTURE - Marcelo Bielsa sent a Leeds United shirt signed by himself and Kalvin Phillips to be auctioned off at a major Chilean fundraiser. Pic: Getty

The Whites head coach, who was national team boss of La Roja between 2007 and 2011 and guided them to the World Cup finals in 2010, is still revered in Chile and his latest gift will only help maintain his fond relationship between the 66-year-old and the nation.

Teletón, a 27-hour transmission in aid of children with developmental disabilities, took place this weekend and Bielsa sent a Leeds United shirt signed by himself and midfielder Kalvin Phillips, to be auctioned off.

Various items of sports memorabilia are put up for auction, including a Chilean national team shirt of Blackburn Rovers striker Ben Ben Brereton Díaz, and domestic club kits.

Jorge Gomez, an ESPN journalist in Chile involved in the auction, told Las Últimas Noticias the Leeds shirt was 'sent by diplomatic bag from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.'

"At one point I thought it was a scam," he added.

Last year Teletón raised $40m and since its inception, rehabilitation centres for children have been built in 13 locations across the city by Fundación Teletón.

Bielsa also sent a Leeds shirt in 2018 to help raise funds for the cause, paying extra for delivery to ensure the shirt arrived in time, and in 2010 made an appearance on Chile helps Chile, another charity telethon that raised money to help those affected by the earthquake that struck southern Chile in February of that year.

In 2019 Bielsa sent a message of support to those protesting inequality in Chile in a post-match press conference at Hillsborough.

"I admire what the Chilean people are doing, the normal citizens," he said.

"They take democracy in a different way. They are an example for the rest of the country, but treated by their authorities. And they claim, in the correct way, with democracy and they understand to have a good democracy you have to do more than vote.

"Always, everybody describes the Chilean people as moderate people. They give an example of conviction and they are solid people."