Liverpool ‘REFUSE to refund Atletico Madrid fans who stayed home for the clubs’ Champions League clash for fear of spreading coronavirus’… with Spanish club having to pay them back instead!
- Liverpool faced Atletico Madrid in the Champions League at Anfield on March 11
- It came as coronavirus crisis was growing and 290 Atletico fans did not travel
- Atletico have now made the decision to refund those fans as Liverpool will not
- It comes amid serious criticism for Liverpool over decision to furlough staff
Atletico Madrid have refunded 290 fans who decided against travelling to watch them play Liverpool due to coronavirus fears – after the hosts refused to hand back any money, according to reports.
The visitors went on to win the game on March 11 and advance to the quarter-final stage of the Champions League – but there were concerns pre-match that it should not have been held.
Madrid was already in the middle of the COVID-19 crisis yet neither UEFA nor the government in the UK moved to have the game played behind closed doors.
Atletico Madrid have refunded 290 fans who did not travel to watch them play Liverpool
There were already concerns over the spread of coronavirus when the match took place
Those who did travel saw their side advance to the quarter-final stage of the competition
And while thousands of fans did travel from Madrid, others were concerned over the situation and decided against going at the last minute.
As a result, Spanish newspaper AS report Atletico have now decided to hand back the cost of their tickets – at a price of €17,000 (£15,000).
The report also suggests that while Liverpool have banked the revenue from the tickets but refused to return it, leading to Atletico covering it themselves and handing over the cash last week.
Atletico have also refunded tickets for the home games against Valladolid, Alaves and Mallorca.
Atletico won the match 3-2 in dramatic fashion to give themselves a place in the last-eight
It follows Liverpool council’s director of public health Matthew Ashton suggesting the rise in coronavirus cases in the city might be influenced by the match taking place.
There were just 14 confirmed cases of Covid-19 in Liverpool on Friday, March 20, but that number has swelled to 455 as of Monday afternoon.
Ashton, in place to coordinate Liverpool’s response to the pandemic, said in the Guardian: ‘It was not the right decision to stage the match.
‘People don’t make bad decisions on purpose – perhaps the seriousness of the situation wasn’t being understood across government at that time.
‘Although we will never know, the Atletico Madrid game could have been one of the cultural events and gatherings that influenced the rise in Liverpool.
The report suggests Liverpool have refused to refund the money for fans who didn’t attend
‘It is definitely one to be included on the list for learning and for a future inquiry, so that organisations can learn and not make similar mistakes.’
The day before the match, which Atletico won 3-2 after extra-time to prevail 4-2 on aggregate in front of 54,000 fans, LaLiga had announced all fixtures in its top two divisions would have to be played behind closed doors.
Since then, all of the major European leagues have been shut down. LaLiga has been indefinitely postponed.
Liverpool’s former players have recently criticised the club’s financial decisions around coronavirus after they decided to furlough non-playing staff at the weekend.
Danny Murphy recently slammed a series of financial decisions by his former club
‘It’s hard to imagine how they’ve come up with this,’ Danny Murphy told Talksport.
‘Even if the profits haven’t been as a good as they have been with Liverpool’s recent success… the reputation Liverpool has gained over the years by dealing with adversity and the togetherness with the supporters – this stinks.
‘It’s grotesque. It’s a quick, silly decision based on trying to save a few quid.
Sir Kenny Dalglish would be ‘disgusted’ by the decision to furlough staff, claimed Murphy
WHAT DOES FURLOUGH MEAN?
When an employee is placed on furlough they are temporarily put on a leave of absence and not paid, although they remain on the payroll, meaning that they do not lose their job.
This could be because there is no work for these employees, or that the company is not able to afford to pay them, because of the effects of the coronavirus crisis.
In the United Kingdom, the Government is offering to pay 80 per cent of a furloughed employee’s wages, up to £2,500 per month, until they are able to resume their job full time.
The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme will last for at least three months from March 1.
‘It’s totally against what Liverpool Football Club is, what it’s become, and what it’s built since Bill Shankly – and I say that with knowledge of what it means to be part of that football club.
‘I can’t think there will be any supporters who will agree with this decision. Kenny (Dalglish) will be disgusted. Kenny did so much during Hillsborough and that took him apart.
‘He was a perfect example, he epitomised what Liverpool Football Club is about. I think a lot of people within the club will be having words about this to the hierarchy.’
Murphy was not the only former player to chime in. Dietmar Hamann wrote on his Twitter: ‘Astonished by the news that @LFC takes advantage of the furlough scheme to claim 80 per cent of non-playing staff wages back off the government.
‘That’s not what the scheme was designed for.
‘Contrary to the morals and values of the club I got to know.’
MailOnline columnist Piers Morgan slammed Liverpool’s decision to furlough staff on Monday
Jamie Carragher added: ‘Jurgen Klopp showed compassion for all at the start of this pandemic, senior players heavily involved in @premierleague players taking wage cuts. Then all that respect & goodwill is lost, poor this @LFC.’
MailOnline columnist Piers Morgan also expressed his disgust on Monday morning.
‘Liverpool Football club built up such a good reputation in recent years under Jurgen Klopp, and winning the Champions League, this dynamic wonderful team, everyone was proud, everyone loved what Liverpool were standing for,’ he said on Good Morning Britain.
‘All gone, all gone, because their billionaire owners in America decided that this was the time in a year when they made £45m profit that they were going to furlough their staff at Liverpool Football Club.’
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