The decision to allow Liverpool’s Champions League game against Atletico Madrid could have resulted in “41 additional deaths” due to the corona virus, the Sunday Times reported.
Jürgen Klopp’s team met the Spanish club in front of around 52,000 spectators in Anfield on March 11, with 3,000 fans present.
The game was the last major football game in England before the Corona virus was blocked.
According to the Sunday Times, Edge Health, which analyzes data for the British National Health Service, estimated that the match between 25 and 35 days later was linked to “41 additional deaths” in nearby hospitals compared to similar hospital trusts were used as a control.
Imperial College London and Oxford University have estimated that Spain had around 640,000 positive coronavirus cases at the time of the game, compared to 100,000 in the UK at the time.
In March, the four-day Cheltenham Show Jumping Festival in South West England also took place as planned. Officials cited the UK government’s guidance that it was safe to continue with major sporting events.
Edge Health estimates that the decision could have been linked to 37 more deaths, according to estimates from the Sunday Times.
More than 250,000 people visited Cheltenham. The organizers insisted that special hygiene measures had been introduced for the event, including additional hand washing stations for the spectators.
However, the race in the UK ended on March 17 in response to the pandemic after the British Horseracing Authority was widely criticized for allowing the festival.
Last month, one of the mayors of Liverpool requested an investigation into why the Atletico game was allowed to go as planned.
“If people become infected with coronavirus as a direct result of a sporting event that we believe shouldn’t have happened, it’s scandalous,” Steve Rotheram, Liverpool City Mayor, told the BBC.
“This needs to be examined to find out if some of these infections are directly attributable to Atletico fans. There were hot cities with corona viruses, and Madrid was one of them.”
Atletico won the game 3-2 after extra time to eliminate the defending champions 4-2 overall and reach the quarter-finals.
An initial viewer ban is expected when the sport resumes in the UK, where more than 36,000 people have been killed during the pandemic – the worst record in Europe and the second largest after the United States.