Uriarte elected president of Athletic Bilbao

Reuters

Jon Uriarte has been elected president of Athletic Bilbao, beating Inaki Arechabaleta, who favoured the return of Argentine Marcelo Bielsa as head coach, the La Liga club said.

Uriarte, elected for four years, won 46.7 percent of the vote by club members Friday, ahead of Arechabaleta (33.7 percent) and Ricardo Barkala (18.1 percent).

The 44-year-old entrepreneur took office in a brief ceremony at the San Mames stadium in the presence of his predecessor Aitor Elizegi.

At a press conference on Monday, Arechabaleta had presented former Leeds head coach Bielsa for Athletico Bilbao coach to replace outgoing Marcelino if he was elected.

Bielsa, who coached Athletic Bilbao for two seasons between 2011 and 2013, said he had "started to think about giving a positive response" in a video released during Arechabaleta's conference.

The 66-year-old has been free since his dismissal from Leeds last February.

But the victory of Uriarte is likely to see the return of Ernesto Valverde for a third stint as coach.

The 58-year-old Spaniard has been without a club since his ouster from FC Barcelona in January 2020.

Athletic finished eighth in La Liga last season, failing to qualify for European competitions.


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