On February 26, with northern Italy beginning to suffer from the coronavirus, Juventus went to Lyon to play the first leg of the Champions League round of 16, a match that perhaps should not have been played, and which some point to as the entry point of the COVID-19 in France.
A former Lyon doctor believes the pandemic entered France through that match. It would be the ‘ground-zero’, the moment when the disease arrived in France, a theory that a few others share.
Marcel Garrigou-Grandchamp, a former Olympique doctor, shared this opinion on ‘Sport’. “That match should not have been played, as it brought Juventus fans to Lyon, which was not a risk area,” he said.
On 26 February, there were only 445 confirmed cases in Italy and only 20 deaths. All of them, in the north, were concentrated in Lombardy, a region close to Piedmont, whose capital is Turin.
In France, on the other hand, there were only 18 cases, with only one death. The situation soon got out of hand in Italy, and in France too.
This match had not received as much media attention as the Valencia-Atalanta match two weeks later, which clearly brought the virus with it (35% of the Valencia squad have suffered from it).
Juventus, for their part, dissociate themselves from this theory of Garrigou-Grandchamp and rely on the study carried out by the Regional Health Agency of Lyon, in which the relationship between the positives registered in the 14 days following the match and this one was ruled out.
Now, more than a month after that, it is clear that everything should have stopped before, but talking about it afterwards is easy. It was hard for Europe to see that the virus would be so problematic, and it will pay for it.