Dirk van Nuffel, who leads the Belgian city’s police force, condemned Clement and his players for ignoring social distancing restrictions imposed during the Covid-19 pandemic as they partied with fans after lifting the Jupiler Pro League trophy.
Insisting Clement’s employers had accepted there should be no contact with supporters at the event, van Nuffel told a newspaper in Flanders: “This is not what was agreed.
"We had made good arrangements with the catering industry and Club Brugge to make sure the gatherings would take place in an orderly fashion. The catering industry complied with these arrangements perfectly but Club Brugge did not.”
“This is to avoid gatherings but also protect the players from infection,” van Nuffel continued. “Club Brugge has proven to be an unreliable partner here.”
Clement, aged 47, now has three JPL titles on his managerial CV after also leading Genk to a first placed finish before securing top spot for the second time in as many seasons at the Jan Breydel Stadium.
Now entering the closing stages of his present deal, Clement is known to boast admirers among Bramall Lane’s board of directors having previously worked at Beerschot; United’s sister club.
Despite being linked with a move away this summer, leading Brugge into Europe again could persuade Clement to see out his present deal, which has 12 months left to run, rather than seeking a fresh challenge abroad.
Slavisa Jokanovic, who won promotion with both Watford and Fulham before joining Al-Gharafa, had held talks about the United vacancy while Paul Heckingbottom, who has been in caretaker charge since Chris Wilder’s departure in March, is another option. He has urged United to make a quick appointment in order to accelerate plans for next term.
United, who were relegated from the Premier League last season, also met with representatives of Oostende’s Alexander Blessin before their interest in the German became bogged down by red tape and work permit issues.