Despite the game taking place after a plan was agreed to play La Liga matches behind closed doors, 3,000 visiting fans were allowed to travel from Spain and attend the match at Anfield on March 11.
Substitute Marcos Llorente scored two extra-time goals in the match as Atletico earned a 3-2 second-leg win to knock out holders Liverpool and advance to the quarterfinals 4-2 on aggregate.
Days later Spain was forced into a nationwide lockdown and mass gatherings, including all major sporting events, in Britain were cancelled.
Madrid has been one of the European cities worst-hit by coronavirus and the Spanish capital’s mayor Jose Luis Martinez-Almeida said it had been a “mistake” to play the game.
“If people have contracted coronavirus as a direct result of a sporting event that we believe shouldn’t have taken place, well that’s scandalous,” Rotheram, was quoted as saying by the BBC.
It is worth mentioning that Liverpool council’s director of public health Matthew Ashton had also expressed concerns about the Reds’ Champions League tie having played a role in the rise in coronavirus cases in the city.
The UK government has insisted it was following scientific advice when it allowed the match to go ahead, but Rotheram had his own reservations.
“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.”
(With inputs from Agencies)
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