Sun, 05 Jul 2020

MADRID, June 3 (Xinhua) -- Spanish football club Valencia have criticized the coach of Italian side Atalanta after an interview in the Italian newspaper La Gazzetta dello Sport in which he admitted travelling to Spain for a Champions League game while showing symptoms of the COVID-19.

Gian Piero Gasperini told the paper that he had been sick of the day of the game in Valencia's Mestalla Stadium on March 11th and that on returning to Italy he self-isolated for three weeks at Atalanta's training ground.

"The day before the match in Valencia I wasn't well; the afternoon of the match I felt even worse... If you look at the pictures, I did not look good on the bench," said Gasperini, who has subsequently given positive in a test to discover anti-bodies for COVID-19.

It should be pointed out that Atalanta are based in Bergamo, which was one of the early focal points of the coronavirus epidemic in Italy, while on March 15th, Valencia reported that around 35 percent of their players and background staff had tested positive for COVID-19.

The Spanish club responded to the Gasperini's interview with a communique which said the club "wishes to publicly express its surprise over the fact that the coach of the rival team has admitted that he knew he apparently had symptoms compatible with the coronavirus on both the day of the match played in Mestalla -- which Atalanta won 4-3 -- and the day before. And yet he took no preventive measures, thereby potentially putting the health of numerous people at risk during both his journey to, and stay in, Valencia."

Valencia pointed out that the game, which Atalanta won 4-3 to book a place in the quarter-finals of the Champions League, "was played behind closed doors in accordance with the strict measures put in place by Spanish health authorities to prevent the risk of COVID-19 transmission, especially in the case of people coming from an area that had already been declared a public risk zone."

Four days after the game Spain was placed in a State of Alarm limiting freedom of movement. So far the coronavirus has claimed slightly over 27,100 lives in the country.

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