Champions League

Atletico Madrid step in to refund fans after Liverpool refuse bill

Diego Simeone (Getty Images)
Diego Simeone (Getty Images)

Atletico Madrid have stepped in to refund 290 Spanish fans who did not travel to Anfield due to coronavirus fears after Liverpool rejected a request to return their money.

Diario AS report that Liverpool refused to refund the Atletico fans to the value of €17 000, after they refused to travel to Merseyside, advised by the Spanish government.

The Champions League last-16, second leg was held at Anfield on March 11 and was one of the last games to take place in Europe, with the lockdown ensuing soon after.

There were 3,000 Atleti fans who travelled to Merseyside for the game, but a minority chose not to travel upon government advice and the health authorities.

Liverpool council's director of public health Matthew Ashton has since stated that the game, in front of 54,000 fans, should not have taken place.

Ashton, in place to coordinate Liverpool's response to the pandemic, said in The Guardian: "It was not the right decision to stage the match."

There were just 14 confirmed cases of Covid-19 in Liverpool on Friday, March 20, but that number has swelled to 309 less than two weeks later.

It was announced on the day of the game by the World Health Organisation that the situation was officially a pandemic, while Madrid announced that all its schools and colleges would shut due to the virus the previous day.

The report claims that 782 confirmed coronavirus cases had been declared in Madrid by that date – just short of half of the Spanish total – while 35 Spaniards had died ahead of the game.

The day before the match, which Atletico won 3-2 after extra-time to prevail 4-2 on aggregate, La Liga had announced all fixtures in its top two divisions would have to be played behind closed doors.

Days later football in Spain was suspended indefinitely, while the Premier League soon followed suit.

- TEAMtalk media

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