Footballers and teams around the world are contributing to hospitals, health and stadium workers and others affected by COVID-19 as the pandemic spreads rapidly across the world, affecting more than 170 countries. In the wake of matches being postponed due to COVID-19, let’s take a look at the players, clubs who are doing their bits to help humanity.
Asides donating 1m Euros ($1.1 million) each to the cause, world best footballers Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo and their teams have also reportedly decided to take pay cuts to help non-sporting staff who may face financial distress in this difficult period.
While Messi donated to Hospital Clínic de Barcelona, which is both treating the victims of the pandemic and researching the virus, Portugal and Juventus forward Cristiano Ronaldo and his agent Jorge Mendes jointly donated life-saving equipment to Portuguese hospitals in Lisbon and Porto.
“For our part, the time has come to announce that, as well as the reduction of 70 per cent of our salary during the State of Alarm, we will also make contributions so the club’s employees can collect 100 per cent of their salary while this situation lasts. We want to clarify that our desire has always been to apply a drop in salary because we fully understand that this is an exceptional situation and we are the first ones who have ALWAYS helped the club when asked. Many times we have even done it on our own initiative when we thought it necessary or important. Therefore, it never ceases to amaze us that from within the club there were those who tried to put us under the magnifying glass and tried to add pressure to do something that we always knew we would do.” Messi wrote on his page.
Ronaldo’s €1 million will fund two intensive care units that can cater for up to 20 patients at one time at the Lisbon’s Hospital de Santa Maria. Those two units will reportedly be named after Ronaldo and Mendes. The Santo Antonio hospital in Porto will have one ward equipped with 15 intensive care beds, fully equipped with fans, monitors and other equipment.
“They were absolutely unselfish and supportive. They wanted to improve the conditions of their compatriots. Therefore, we reinforced the critical care area, which is the one where the biggest fight will be fought. We want to thank Ronaldo and Mendes for the initiative, which is so useful at the time the country needs everyone so much,” Paulo Barbosa, president of Santo Antonio’s administrative council and Santa Maria President Daniel Ferro said in separate statements.
Real Madrid captain, Sergio Ramos and his wife Pilar Rubio announced their decision to donate 264,571 masks, 1,000 items of protective equipment and 15,000 tests to help in the fight against corona virus in Spain. The donation will be made through international NGO.
“We have already collaborated with @unicef_es [UNICEF Spain]. Immediate and necessary help! The health material, essential for health professionals, will arrive in Spain on Friday,” he added.
Swedish professional footballer, Zlatan Ibrahimovic is also helping humanity. He has donated 100,000 euros to support Humanitas Hospitals during the coronavirus outbreak in Italy. The AC Milan striker also set up an online fundraiser that has raised an additional 50,000 Euros in one day. Alessio Romagnoli and Rafael Leao responded to the call to action.
Juventus players and coaching staff have agreed to take pay cuts for the next four months with the agreement said to be worth about £80.7million (€90m) of the club’s wage bill. Ronaldo’s annual salary at Juventus is about £28million, approximately £280,000 every week. The wage cut will now see the Portuguese cut his wages to by £3.4m (€3.8m).
A statement from Juventus read, “Juventus Football Club announces that due to the current global health emergency is preventing the performance of the sporting activity, it has reached an understanding with the players and the coach of the First Team regarding their compensation for the residual portion of the current sport season.”
Barcelona donated 30,000 masks to the Catalonia government and also released their own statement on Monday, stating that members of “all professional sports teams and most of the basketball team” had agreed to reduce their salaries.
“In the case of the football first team the reduction will be more than 70 per cent as agreed with the club. This additional contribution by the team, plus the contribution from the club itself, will guarantee 100 per cent of the salaries of all non-sporting staff, who will be subjected to temporary redundancy this week.” The statement added.
Espanyol, announced that the pay cut would apply to sporting staff only: from the men’s and women’s first teams to the B team and the two under-19 sides. In a statement released by Espanyol, the club said the players have been advised and they “understand and respect” the measure, conscious of “how delicate the situation is”. They are prepared, the club said, “to each an amicable agreement with the club without having to take more drastic measures”.
Atlético Madrid have become the third La Liga club to announce a temporary redundancy scheme – to reduce club costs. Club CEO Gil Marin stated the decision was brought about to “guarantee the club’s survival.” 500 employees at the Madrid-based club will be affected by the decision with players, staff and club employees expected to see a 70% reduction in salaries.
Barcelona and Espanyol have announced their willingness to put their facilities at the disposition of the health authorities as the crisis worsens.
Other clubs are expected to follow suit in the coming days.
Manchester City manager, Pep Guardiola donated 1m Euros (£920,000) to fight the outbreak in Spain. It will go to a campaign being promoted by the Medical College of Barcelona and the Angel Soler Daniel Foundation. Funds will be used to purchase medical equipment and protective materials for the hospital staff involved in treating covid-19 patients.
Bayern Munich and Poland international striker Robert Lewandowski also donated 1m Euros to the fight against corona virus. Bayern Munich players have also agreed a 20% salary cut to pay staff.
“We are all aware of the difficulties of the situation around us. Today, we are all playing in one team. Let’s be strong in this fight. If we can help someone, let’s do it.
We have decided to donate EUR 1 million to contribute toward the fight against corona virus. This situation affects each of us, so we are asking you again: Follow the instructions, listen to those who know best. Be responsible. We believe that we will return to our normal life soon. We are in this together.”He wrote on his instagram page.
His teammates, Leon Goretzka and Joshua Kimmich donated a combined 1m Euros to their We kick Corona fund. The fund has raised 2.5m Euros so far.
Senegalese winger, Sadio Mane has donated 30 million CFA francs (USD 50,000) to his country’s National Medical Commission to fight the pandemic. Ivory Coast legend, Didier Drogba gave masks to the cathedral of Abidjan, with the message: “My sisters, my brothers, I ask you to take the matter very seriously… we tend to be too light about our reactions to the situation.”
Barcelona legend and head coach of Al-Sadd in Qatar, Xavi Hernandez has donated €1 million to Hospital Clinic in Spain and alsp appealed for more resources to aid its response to the crisis. The 40 year-old made the donation with his partner, journalist Nuria Cunillera, and said in a social media video adding that the “purchasing sanitary equipment for professionals and patients.”
The Alcantara brothers, Thiago and Rafinha were not left out. They also pooled resources and donated money to Hospital Clinic in Barcelona for the fight against coronavirus.
Tottenham defender Toby Alderweireld donated tablets to isolated people in hospitals and nursing homes.
“We are already getting messages from people who can now speak to their families and it has been a real help, I didn’t do it for a reaction, just to help but it has been so positive. “In the UK we are a little bit behind Europe, I was getting news from across Europe so I was in a corona virus state of mind. I called my dad and said we have to do something; we have to try to help. We were brainstorming, my dad contacted some hospitals and they said we need some tablets for people who are isolated, especially older people who don’t have a phone. It keeps a visual connection with loved ones, which was impossible otherwise. It makes me very happy and makes me sad that I can’t help everyone but I am trying the best I can. If it can bring just a little bit of joy to their lives it is great.”
Bournemouth manager, Eddie Howe has become the first Premier League boss to take a voluntary pay cut to help the club cope with the financial hit of coronavirus.
“As the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic continues to gather pace, there are far more questions than answers regarding its effects. One thing is for certain, however; the wellbeing of our employees, supporters, local communities and everyone around the world is of far greater significance than football matches.“There is no script for moments like this. No tactics and no set plays to find a winning formula. But as a board we are continually looking at ways to ensure the future of the club and our employees is protected when the season returns.” A statement from the board of directors read.
Arsenal has pledged a £100,000 donation to help fight the outbreak. Recall that their manager, Mikel Arteta, tested positive to the virus.
A club statement read: “Arsenal Football Club has never shied away from responding to the needs of its community. In these uncertain times we are taking a series of steps to ensure our local and global communities receive our full support.
“The Arsenal Foundation will donate £100,000 to local charities and organisations that are supporting those most in need during this COVID-19 crisis. “We are in constant dialogue with Islington Council and our partners in the NHS to ensure this response is aligned with their priorities and supports those most vulnerable. “A further £50,000 already donated to local community initiatives by The Arsenal Foundation, in partnership with Islington Giving, will also be re-directed to Islington Giving’s Crisis Fund as part of this COVID-19 community response. From Tuesday, March 24, we will make all Arsenal in the Community cars available to transport front line NHS mental health workers.
North Liverpool Foodbank faced a serious shortfall following the suspension of the Premier League due to coronavirus. About 25 per cent of donations come from matchday collections, but with no fixtures till April there can be no collections, Liverpool however came to their rescue to ensure the foodbank isn’t depleted.
Their first-team squad and LFC Foundation jointly pledged a £10,000 donation for every remaining home game the Reds are due to play this season, with four matches resulting in a total £40,000 donation. The club are also making a cash donation to North Liverpool Foodbank, while excess food at Anfield and Liverpool’s Melwood training ground will be donated, too.
A statement from the Premier League club read: “Liverpool’s first-team squad, LFC Foundation, Red Neighbours and club staff will come together to back Fans Supporting Foodbanks during the suspension of Premier League football. The collective show of solidarity aims to help the initiative at an uncertain time, following the postponement of Monday’s Merseyside derby and the subsequent round of fixtures due to the coronavirus outbreak.”
LFC Foundation director Matt Parish said: “The postponement of Premier League matches, particularly the Merseyside derby, means a potential shortfall in donations to the North Liverpool Foodbank – and as a club it is imperative we support its crucial work in the local community even further at this difficult time.
“We hope the collective backing of the club’s first-team players, LFC Foundation and Red Neighbours programmes, and staff, can help to alleviate concerns around the absence of the usual matchday collections.
“Our fans have consistently gone above and beyond in their backing for Fans Supporting Foodbanks in recent years and we would encourage anyone who is able to make a donation at any of our collection points or via the online fundraiser.”
Chelsea will also cover costs for NHS staff working in the region to stay at the Millennium Hotel at Stamford Bridge.
A club statement read: “Chelsea Football Club is joining the medical response to the coronavirus outbreak in London with the news the National Health Service (NHS) has accepted the Club’s offer to make the Millennium Hotel at Stamford Bridge available for NHS staff.”
Meanwhile, Manchester United and Manchester City have donated a combined £100,000 to local food banks in a bid to support them through the corona virus crisis. They donated to the Trussell Trust, an organisation which supports over 1,200 food banks across the country, including 19 in the Great Manchester vicinity.
“We are proud of the role our supporters play in helping local food banks and recognise the increased strain likely to be placed on these charities by the impact of coronavirus. At a time of challenge for our community, we are pleased to come together with our fans to help vulnerable members of society in a City United.” the Premier League heavyweights said in a joint statement.
Spanish giants, Real Madrid also made what was described a “significant donation” to the Comunidad de Madrid in order to buy extra medical supplies to stop the coronavirus outbreak in the region. Asides that, Real Madrid’s 78,000-capacity Santiago Bernabéu will be turned into a storage and distribution centre for medical materials donated to the health authorities. Madrid will use their charitable foundation to receive financial donations and have set up a point of contact to collect and receive donations of materials which will then be stored at the stadium.
Valencia’s owner, Peter Lim, has bought 50,000 FFP2 face masks and 300 thermometers that will be given to the Valencia regional government in the name of the club.