Liverpool’s match with Atletico Madrid in the Champions League on March 11 will be investigated by the city’s council regarding any impact it may have had on the spread of coronavirus.
On the day the game was played, the World Health Organisation declared the coronavirus outbreak a pandemic. Meanwhile, schools in Madrid were closed and gatherings of over 1,000 people were banned, but 52,000 were in attendance at Anfield with around 3,000 fans making the trip from Spain.
“Liverpool City Council, alongside partners at the University of Liverpool and John Moores University, have agreed to explore any impact of Covid-19 as a result of the Atletico Madrid match at Anfield on March 11,” a spokesman for Liverpool City Council said.
“Liverpool City Council’s public health team, alongside partners, is currently assessing the size and scope of the project.”
Mayor of Madrid Jose Luis Martinez-Almeida has said it was a “mistake” for fans to travel to Anfield, amid the country’s growing pandemic last month.
“It didn’t make any sense that 3,000 Atletico fans could travel to Anfield at that time,” Martinez-Almeida told Onda Cero radio. “It was a mistake.”
Liverpool council’s director of public health Matthew Ashton said that the match should not have gone ahead and that it could have explained the rise of the number of cases in the city. Steve Rotheram, mayor of Liverpool City Region, has called for an independent inquiry into whether the match should have taken place.
Atalanta’s Champions League game with Valencia in February has also come under criticism for being played despite the outbreak in Italy. Milan-based intensive care director Luca Lorini said the match acted as a coronavirus accelerator in the Lombardy region.