Uefa defends decision to play Atalanta vs Valencia despite coronavirus pandemic

Uefa has defended its decision to allow Atalanta vs Valencia to be played in Milan despite the risk it posed to spreading the coronavirus.

The mayor of Bergamo labelled the match as a “biological bomb” in spreading the virus from Italy to Spain.

But Uefa president Aleksander Ceferin has defended the decision to play out the first leg of the first leg of the Champions League last 16 tie.

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“On February 19, no one knew that Lombardy would be the centre of the epidemic,” said the Uefa president.

“Who were we to say it shouldn’t go ahead?

“We followed the advice of the authorities at all times and we couldn’t do anything.”

The second leg, 15 days later, took place behind closed doors, with Ceferin insisting decisions over postponing matches are not taken lightly.

“Decisions can’t be taken in a day,” he added. “There are contracts and agreements.

“[Football] was still being played across Europe then. The borders were still open when Valencia and Atalanta played.

“Gatherings of fans outside the stadium was the responsibility of the Spanish authorities.”

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