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Coronavirus: Atletico pledge Anfield refunds following government advice

By Dom Farrell
Atletico Madrid fans

Liverpool, March 11: Atletico Madrid will refund fans who have purchased tickets for Wednesday's Champions League game at Liverpool but decide not to attend.

The move comes after advice given to the club related to the coronavirus outbreak from the Spanish government, which does not recommend travel from Madrid and considers it "irresponsible" behaviour to go against this directive.

Forthcoming La Liga and Ligue 1 matches will take place behind closed doors, while Serie A has been suspended along with all other sport in Italy until April 3 as part of attempts to contain the spread of the virus.

Tuesday's Champions League match between Valencia and Atalanta took place without fans and empty grandstands will overlook Barcelona versus Napoli and Bayern Munich versus Chelsea next week.

In a statement on their official website, Atletico told supporters that UEFA, along with authorities in Liverpool, confirmed the last-16 match – into which Diego Simeone's men carry a 1-0 first-leg advantage – would go ahead as planned and be open to both sets of supporters.

However, the advice handed to the club via Spain's Higher Sports Council was reproduced in full.

The statement read: "In line with the measures approved today by the government regarding the coronavirus, and specifically in relation to the request to avoid travel and the appeal to individual responsibility made by the health authorities, the Higher Sports Council reminds fans of the club of the decision taken by the government, namely: Non-essential movement outside of the Madrid community is not recommend and this includes departure to another country.

"This measure is consistent with those taken in relation to flights from Italy. Failure to comply with this request will be considered a decision outside the scientific evidence applicable for situations such as that suffered by Madrid of 'enhanced containment measures'.

"Not addressing this recommendation would be considered an irresponsible decision."

Atletico supporters who wish to claim a ticket refund have until 1900 Spanish time (1800 GMT) on Wednesday (March 11) to email the club with their request.

Figures reported by the World Health Organizaion on Tuesday (March 10) showed there had been 1,402 cases of coronavirus in Spain, and 373 in the United Kingdom.

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Story first published: Wednesday, March 11, 2020, 3:10 [IST]
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