Belgian linked with Sheffield United role receives a reprimand from the police following title celebrations

Philippe Clement, the Club Brugge head coach whose name was included on the shortlist of candidates from which Sheffield United will pick their new manager, has been reprimanded for his behaviour during the club’s title-winning celebrations.

By James Shield
Monday, 24th May 2021, 8:51 pm

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.”

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Club Brugge's head coach Philippe Clement and Club's players celebrate with the cup after a soccer match between Club Brugge KV and KRC Genk, Sunday 23 May 2021 in Brugge, on the sixth and last day of the 'Champions' play-offs' of the 'Jupiler Pro League' first division of the Belgian championship. BELGA PHOTO BRUNO FAHY (Photo by BRUNO FAHY/BELGA MAG/AFP via Getty Images)

“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.

Sheffield, England, 23rd May 2021. Paul Heckingbottom interim manager of Sheffield Utd celebrates at full time during the Premier League match at Bramall Lane, Sheffield. Picture credit should read: Simon Bellis / Sportimage

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.

A new manager would give Sheffield United's players a much needed pick me up: Andrew Yates / Sportimage