Family calls for public inquiry to ask why Liverpool vs Atletico Madrid game was played

The family of a Liverpool supporter who died after contracting Coronavirus are calling for a public inquiry to ask why the club's fixture with Atletico Madrid was played exactly a year ago today.

On the 11th March 2020, the Covid pandemic was declared worldwide and 52,000 fans packed into Anfield to watch Liverpool play in the Champions League. It was the last game of Football to take place before Project Restart brought the sport back later that summer.

Many people were still unaware of the true danger of Coronavirus. But could the decision to play the fixture actually have cost lives? The answer to that question is almost certainly yes. In May last year, Professor Tim Spector, who leads the UK's largest coronavirus tracking project, said rates of cases "increased several-fold" locally following the event.

  • Here's how Granada Reports covered the game that night:

One of those who was in attendance was 72-year-old Richard Mawson, a retired train driver who rarely missed a game. 

Richard Mawson Credit: Liverpool Echo Syndication

He died just a month later in April, with his family having to say goodbye via a video-link. Now his son Jamie is calling for a public inquiry to ask why the game was played.

Liverpool's opponents were Atletico Madrid who brought 3,000 fans, even though they were banned from watching their team at home,  because of soaring Covid cases in the Spanish capital. At the time, Spain is thought to have had more than 500,000 coronavirus cases, with Madrid being a hotspot of the disease.

Analysis of NHS data suggests the game may have led to an extra 41 deaths in Liverpool.

Tom Solomon is from the University of Liverpool.

Liverpool could not have called their match off unilaterally or they would have faced being disciplined by UEFA, European football's governing body.