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Football joins fight to kick coronavirus

Football joins fight to kick coronavirus

FOOTBALL: Manchester City coach Pep Guardiola has donated one million euros (35.5 million baht) to help buy medical supplies for the fight against the coronavirus pandemic in his native Spain.

Football
By AFP

Thursday 26 March 2020, 08:45AM


Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola is of Spanish origin and played for and coached Barcelona. Photo: AFP

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola is of Spanish origin and played for and coached Barcelona. Photo: AFP

The former FC Barcelona boss gave the money to the Medical College of Barcelona to buy “medical equipment that is currently lacking in health centres in Catalonia,” the body said in a statement.

His donation will also be used to produce ventilators to treat patients and protective gear for health care workers in Guardiola’s northeastern region of Spain.

Meanwhile Barcelona’s Hospital Clinic said it had received a donation from FC Barcelona captain Lionel Messi to help it fight the virus.

“Thank you Leo, for your support and commitment,” the hospital added in a tweet.

While the hospital did not say how much money the player donated, Catalan sports daily Mundo Deportivo said it was one million euros.

With the pandemic spreading across the world, Spain has been one of the worst-hit countries, logging the third highest number of deaths with the latest toll standing at 2,991, and the total number of infections over 42,000.

Ancelotti, Mourinho join coronavirus battle

Elsewhere, Carlo Ancelotti surprised an Everton fan with motor neurone disease while Jose Mourinho helped deliver care packages as Premier League managers joined in the battle against the coronavirus crisis.

The English top flight has been suspended until at least April 30 due to the pandemic but clubs and managers are pitching in to help vulnerable, isolated people.

Everton manager Ancelotti joined his club’s “Blue Family” community campaign, making a phonecall to Mark Cruise, a 52-year-old Everton fan diagnosed with motor neurone disease last year.

In a video posted on Everton’s Twitter feed, Ancelotti initially caught the disbelieving supporter by surprise.

“Hi Mark, how are you? I’m Carlo,” Ancelotti, 60, said.

“Who is it?”, Cruise replied.

“I’m the manager of Everton. I know that you are a fan of Everton,” said Ancelotti before Cruise responded: “I’m a big fan of you Mr Ancelotti, you are a top fella.”

The Italian chatted with Cruise about his favourite Everton games, insisting that he should address him as “Carlo”, not “Mr Ancelotti”.

“Usually in Italy, Mr is a man of great importance. I’m not so important, I’m just a manager,” joked the boss.

He revealed his fears for friends and his sister in Italy, which has been hit hard by the virus.

Tottenham boss Mourinho has been working with Age UK and community group Love Your Doorstep to deliver vital supplies such as food and medication to those in need.

“I came to give some support to Age UK, Enfield and Love Your Doorstep, Enfield, to help people in our club’s local community,” said the 57-year-old, who was photographed packing up supplies wearing a face mask and gloves.

“It is a difficult time for everyone right now, particularly among the elderly, so I want to offer my assistance in any way I can.”

Tottenham’s London rivals Arsenal have pledged £100,000 (B3.9 million)) to local charities fighting the virus. Gunners manager Mikel Arteta tested positive for the virus earlier this month but has now recovered.

Ronaldo, agent donate intensive care units to Portuguese hospitals

Cristiano Ronaldo and his agent Jorge Mendes will donate three intensive care units to Portuguese hospitals to help them cope with the coronavirus pandemic, local health officials confirmed Tuesday (Mar 24).

The Portuguese pair will donate to at least two institutions and will give “two intensive care units”, with a “capacity of 10 beds each” to the University Hospital Centre of Northern Lisbon (CHULN), a group of hospitals in the country’s capital city, a spokesman told AFP.

CHULN currently has a capacity of 77 beds.

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Mendes and Ronaldo will also donate a unit to the Santo Antonio Hospital of the University Hospital Center of Porto.

“This is a very important investment that includes more than a dozen respirators and other necessary equipment,” Eurico Castro Alves, director of the hospital’s surgery department, told newspaper Jornal de Noticias, adding the unit would bear their names.

“If necessary, Cristiano Ronaldo would like to do the same in Madeira,” he added.

Juventus forward Ronaldo has returned to his home island, which has 11 confirmed cases of COVID-19 out of the 2,362 in Portugal. The country has recorded more than 30 deaths.

He was visiting his mother, who is recovering from a stroke, when he was placed in confinement after Juve team-mate Daniele Rugani tested positive.

The local authorities said on 12 March Ronaldo showed no symptoms.

Bayern Munich, other Bundesliga clubs, take pay cut

In Germany, footballers at top teams including Bayern Munich have agreed to take pay cuts to help clubs survive the economic impact of the coronavirus.

Newspaper Bild said players and club officials at champions Bayern, top of the Bundesliga when the season was halted on March 13, have accepted a 20% cut in their salaries.

Like all top European leagues, the German top flight is losing income from broadcasting, sponsorships and ticket sales during the COVID-19 pandemic, with matches in Germany suspended until at least April 2.

Bayern have a massive wage bill which reached 336 million euros last year, almost half of club turnover.

Players at Borussia Moenchengladbach were the first in the Bundesliga to propose a pay cut, followed by others at Werder Bremen, Schalke 04 and Borussia Dortmund. Bayer Leverkusen players are in talks over pay cut proposals with management.

Second-placed Dortmund said their squad members had taken a salary reduction to show solidarity with the club’s 850 employees.

Coach Lucien Favre and club directors have also made a personal offer to take a pay cut.

Brighton offer fans three-month season ticket holiday

Premier League team Brighton and Hove Albion will allow fans to delay payments on season tickets for the 2020/21 campaign by three months to help ease supporters’ cash flow problems amidst the economic crisis caused by COVID-19.

On Monday (Mar 23), the British government increased restrictions on people leaving their homes for three weeks, but for essential work, shopping for food and medicines and one form of exercise a day.

Even if the 2019/20 season can be restarted, it is likely to do so with matches behind closed doors to help prevent the spread of the virus and minimise the impact on health services.

Should supporters not be able to attend Brighton’s remaining five home Premier League fixtures, the Seagulls will offer a pro-rata refund.

Payment will still be taken for the instalment of the 20/21 season tickets due in April, but supporters can apply to have their instalments for May, June and July suspended.

The total cost of the season ticket would still be charged but spread over eight monthly payments from August.

“We appreciate the uncertainty of the current situation for many people, and we are pleased to offer supporters the opportunity of a three-month payment holiday to try and help alleviate some of the worries our season-ticket holders,” Brighton said in a statement.

“The club asks that in order to support this three-month break that supporters do all they can to meet their April payment. This holiday will impact the club’s cash flow by around £3 million.”

The chaos caused by mass cancellations of sporting events is expected to see many clubs fall on hard times.

The English Football League last week announced a £50 million ($58 million) relief package to assist financially stricken clubs in the short-term.

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