Eight medical staff who looked after Diego Maradona will face public trial for alleged homicide, an Argentinian judge ruled on Wednesday. The prosecutors have charged Maradona’s family doctors for their “criminal negligence,” questioning their complacency while Maradona was recovering from the surgery.

The judge arrived at this conclusion following a report from a panel of 20 medical experts, who found several irregularities and deficiencies during his treatment. If the charges are proved in the court, those involved may face imprisonment of up to 25 years. 

Mario Baudry, the lawyer for Maradona’s family, said, “As soon as I saw the cause, I said it was homicide. I fought for a long time and here we are, with this stage completed.” Baudry also alleged that despite the presence of the medical team, Maradona spent his last days in a situation of hopelessness.

All eight defendants, including brain surgeon Leopoldo Luque and psychiatrist Agustina Cosachov, have denied the charges, with Cosachov’s lawyer, Vadim Mischanchuk claiming that his client’s area of specialisation had no relation to the footballer’s death. Luque, meanwhile, is also charged with forgery for using Maradona’s signature to gain possession of a medical document.

Maradona, who single-handedly led Argentina to World Cup triumph in 1986, died of cardiac arrest at the age of 50 in Buenos Aires while recovering from subdural haematoma surgery. 

Throughout his career, he battled alcohol and cocaine addiction. The court ruling came on a day when the football world was celebrating the 36th anniversary of Maradona’s ‘hand of the god’ goal. 

But the most iconic goal of the 21st century came a few minutes later, when Maradona dribbled past the entire English side before beating the goalie Peter Shilton to double Argentina’s lead. It was voted as “Goal Of The Century” in a FIFA poll.

Featured Image Credit: FIFA