Giorgio Gori, the mayor of Bergamo, has said that the Champions League match between Atalanta and Valencia earlier this month was the equivalent of a 'biological bomb'.
In an interview via Facebook, Gori said that the Italian government still did not know the extent of the coronavirus epidemic when they allowed the mathc to take place at San Siro in Milan, 80 miles from Atalanta's home ground in Bergamo.
Italy has been one of the hardest-hit countries with the death toll approaching 7,000, and Gori believes that that fixture, given all Atalanta fans had to travel en masse to Milan for the match, proved to be a significant mistake.
He said: "The party was a biological bomb."
"At that time we did not know what was happening. The first patient in Italy was on 23 February. If the virus was already circulating, the 40,000 fans who went to the San Siro stadium were infected.
"No one knew that the virus was already circulating among us. Many watched the game in groups and there were many contacts that night. The virus passed from one to the other."
In Valencia, 35% of the first team squad contracted the virus in the aftermath of that match, including first-team players Ezequiel Garay, Jose Gaya and Eliaquim Mangala.