Liverpool vs Atletico Madrid: Mayor calls for inquiry into Champions League fixture amid coronavirus concerns
The government have been urged to conduct an investigation into links between Liverpool hosting a Champions League meeting with Atletico Madrid and a spike in cases of coronavirus in the city.
Liverpool City Region mayor Steve Rotheram has called for an inquiry into whether the area's high number of Covid-19 deaths - which stood at 246 as of Wednesday - could be related to last month's fixture.
Despite Madrid having emerged as one of Europe's early hotspots for the virus, 3,000 fans were allowed to travel to England to watch their team contest a European last-16 tie on March 11.
And Rotheram believes that decision constitutes a major error that may well have cost lives on Merseyside.
"If people have contracted coronavirus as a direct result of a sporting event that we believe shouldn't have taken place, well that is scandalous," he told BBC Sport.
"That's put not just those people in danger, but those frontline staff in the NHS and others in their own families that may have contracted it.
"We've seen an increase in the infection curve, and that's resulted in 1,200 people [in Liverpool] contracting Covid-19.
"That needs to be investigated to find out whether some of those infections are due directly to the Atletico fans. There were coronavirus hot cities, and Madrid was one of those.
"They weren't allowed to congregate in their own country, but 3,000 of those fans came over to ours, and potentially may well have spread coronavirus.
"So it does need looking at, and it does need the government to take some responsibility for not locking down sooner."
Liverpool have not played since suffering a 3-2 defeat to Atletico that ended the defence of their Champions League trophy that evening.
A positive Covid-19 test from Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta prompted the suspension of the following weekend's Premier League fixtures, and the English top-flight has yet to resume.Source: standard.co.uk