Liverpool hosted Atletico on March 11, with almost 3000 Madrid fans in attendance at Anfield, despite Spain diagnosing over 1000 coronavirus cases at the time. (Pic: Atletico Madrid/Twitter)
The Mayor for the Liverpool City region Steve Rotheram has demanded an investigation into the Champions League match between Liverpool and Atletico Madrid held in March, to determine whether it contributed to the rising cases of Covid-19 in the city.
There was heavy inspection and a crowd of 54,000 were allowed to attend the game ignoring the advice of the World Health Organisation (WHO). Crucially, about 3,000 fans from Madrid were allowed to attend the match too, at a time when Spain had already started initiating lockdown protocols in the country. Liverpool themselves went into lockdown a few days later.
"We've seen an increase in the infection curve and that's resulted in 1,200 people contracting Covid-19," Steve Rotheram, the mayor said to the BBC. "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,” Rotheram further added. "So it does need looking at, and it does need the government to take some responsibility for not locking down sooner." he added.
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Calls for footballers to wear masks if Bundesliga returns
According to the leaked reports from the German Ministry of Labour, Bundesliga players and officials might have to wear masks during games when the league makes it return after the lockdown.
The report further states that matches will be halted in case masks slide off from the face of the player along with instructions to restrict themselves from touching their mouth while wearing their masks.
It also states that matches will be stopped every 15 minutes to replace the mask due to the increased breathing volume, that will make the mask useless sooner than usual.
There will be a short game break for the mask swap where every player will be required to remain 1.5 meters away from each other. The list created by the Ministry of Labour has only prepared the first draft ahead of the scheduled return of the league on May 9.
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South Korean football season set to kick off on May 8
The Korean Professional Football League (K League) announced on Friday that the men’s top flight, K League 1 and second tier K League will restart on May 8 after more than two months of delay due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Originally scheduled for February 29, will see the defending champions Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors FC competing take on Suwon Samsung Bluewings in the opening game.
New daily cases of coronavirus have dropped to a single digit in Korea this week, which led to a meeting between the league clubs and representatives at the headquarters in Seoul taking the decision to start games.
This news comes a day after South Korean health authorities stated that they are preparing for a possible second wave of the coronavirus pandemic later this year.
The league will be scrutinising strict social distancing regulations for participants off and on the field with players restricted to shaking hands or even having conversations with teammates for that matter.
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UEFA recommends ‘sporting merit’ to decide placement of teams in European League
UEFA confirmed national leagues are not going to get banned from European competition if they cancel their seasons. The decision of teams’ final placements will be “based on sporting merit”.
The emergency rules were implemented after UEFA’s executive committee came together and struck a different tone from what European football’s governing body has of late. The top concern remains a “strong recommendation” to finish the season. Suggestions were also made for adopting a completely new format, such as a play-offs.
In a statement UEFA said, “The ideal scenario, should the pandemic situation permit it, is to have the currently suspended domestic competitions completed ... in their original format. Should this outcome not be possible, it would be preferable that suspended domestic competitions restart with a different format in a manner which would still facilitate clubs to qualify on sporting merit.”
UEFA will also advance €70m (£61.2m) from its ‘national team competition revenues’ to clubs that released players for the European qualifiers and the Nations League.
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Spectators unlikely to be able to return to football stadiums until next year
According to Jaume Roures, the head of Spanish media company Mediapro which broadcasts La Liga, spectators will not be able to return to football stadiums until next year.
"It'll be at least a year before there's a vaccine and we can't put anyone in danger before then, there's no way to have social distancing when you have 20,000 people in a stadium," he told Spanish radio station Onda Cero. "Unless the scientists of the world can surprise everyone and come up with an accessible vaccine before then, something which scientists say is not possible."
Javier Tebas, chief of La Liga said clubs are likely to lose roughly 300 million euros ($323 million) from playing the remaining matches without spectators in this season. Roures believes the clubs' losses will put an end to the lavish transfer fees seen in recent years.
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