Liverpool v Atletico Madrid tie seen as death trap

Sports | AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE 26 May 2020

The decision to let Liverpool's Champions League match against Atletico Madrid go ahead may have led to 41 deaths from the coronavirus.

Jurgen Klopp's side faced the Spanish club in a second-leg, last-16 tie at Anfield on March 11 in front of a crowd of some 52,000, with 3,000 visiting supporters among them.

The match was the last major football fixture in England before the Covid-19 lockdown.

According to the Sunday Times, the Edge Health organization, which analyzes data for Britain's National Health Service, estimated the match was "linked to 41 additional deaths" at nearby hospitals between 25 and 35 days later.

Imperial College London and Oxford University estimated Spain had around 640,000 positive Covid-19 cases at the time of the match compared to 100,000 in Britain.

"If people contracted the coronavirus as a direct result of a sporting event ... well, that's scandalous," said Steve Rotheram, mayor of Liverpool City Region.

"It needs to be investigated to find whether some infections were due directly to Atletico fans. There were coronavirus hot cities, and Madrid was one."

Atletico won the game 3-2 after extra-time to knock out the defending champions 4-2 on aggregate.

March also saw horse racing's Cheltenham Festival in England go ahead, with authorities citing government guidance it was safe to proceed with big sporting events. According to the Edge Health research estimates, that decision may have been linked to 37 additional deaths.

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