The football community is stepping up on helping the frontliners and organizations, which are fighting coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.
Football superstars Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi are some of the personalities in the world of football, donating some of their fortunes, lending their properties or using their stardom to raise money for COVID-19 patients.
Juventus star Cristiano Ronaldo and his manager Jorge Mendes funded three Intensive Care Units (ICU) in two hospitals in Portugal that are treating COVID-19 patients.
“Businessman Jorge Mendes and Cristiano Ronaldo will donate two intensive care wings for the CHULN; each wing will be totally equipped and will have the capacity for 10 beds,” said North Lisbon’s University Hospital Centre (CHULN) in a statement to ESPN.
“The units will be equipped with the charitable contribution of Mendes and Ronaldo. This equipment includes beds, ventilators, heart monitors, pumps and infusion syringes, essential equipment in the care of critically ill patients with COVID-19,’’ the hospital added on the statement.
The hospital said those wards will be named after Ronaldo and Mendes. The duo also financed an ICU in Santo Antonio Hospital in Porto, Portugal.
Lionel Messi, currently playing for FC Barcelona donated 1 million Euros that will be split between Hospital Clinic in Barcelona, Spain and another hospital in Messi’s hometown in Rosario, Argentina.
“Thank you, Leo, for your commitment and your support,” the Twitter account for Hospital Clinic posted, quoted in a report of ESPN about the donation of Messi.
Former FC Barcelona coach and current Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola also donated 1 million Euros to Spain’s Catalonia region which includes Barcelona that is fighting the COVID-19 pandemic with his donation will go to the Barcelona Medical College and Angel Soler Daniel Foundation.
Bayern Munich’s Robert Lewandoski and his wife Anna also donated 1 million Euros to organizations fighting the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Today, we all play in one team. Let’s be strong in this fight,’’ said the Lewandoski couple in a statement mentioned in an ESPN article. Several members of the German football team also launched a campaign called #WeKickCorona that raised 2.5 million Euros so far, with the money will go to the food banks, homeless shelters, blood banks and medical equipment for hospitals.
The supporters of Germany top-tier league Bundesliga especially the ultra groups are also doing their part in raising funds for food banks and calling for financial and mental support of Supermarkets and medical workers, which are among the front liners in this pandemic.
AC Milan’s Zlatan Ibrahimovic meanwhile launched fundraising for Italy’s Humanitas hospital after the European nation is the most affected country of COVID-19 pandemic outside China.
“Italy has always given me so much and in this dramatic moment I want to give back even more to this country that I love,” Ibrahimovic quoted in a CNN report, especially he won several Serie A titles with Inter Milan and AC Milan.
Several English clubs are also doing a part in helping those affected by the pandemic with Aston Villa, Brighton and Newcastle donated the food supposed to be served in the concession stands in their respective home pitch to the local food banks. Crosstown rivals Manchester City and Manchester United also donated 50,000 British Pound each to a local network of food banks in the city.
Tottenham’s Son Heung-min shell out 82,000 US Dollars to be donated in an organization of his home country South Korea that is fighting the disease and teammate Toby Alderweireld will donate electronic tablets to serve as communication tools for those in quarantine due to the virus and frontliners in the hospitals.
Jose Mourinho, current Tottenham manager is also dedicating his time by helping personally in a food bank in North London while the current Premier League season is suspended.
Other football figures are lending their properties to serve as temporary shelters for hospital staff with Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich offering the Millennium Hotel, a hotel just across the club’s Stamford Bridge. He also added the cost of staying in the hotel will be charged over him.
‘’Many of the medical staff will be working long shifts and may not be able to travel home or would otherwise have to make long commutes,” the club said in the statement, quoted in the report of ESPN.
“Local accommodation helps maintain the health and well-being of these crucial personnels at this critical time,’’ the club added in the statement.
Manchester United legends Gary Neville and Ryan Giggs have also decided to turn the hotels they co-own into a temporary shelter for hospital staff in Manchester. The accommodation cost will be shoulder by the duo.
“Our 176 beds will be occupied by National Health Service(NHS) workers and medical professionals,” Neville said in a Twitter video message, quoted in an article published on CNN.
“It’s at this time that I think the whole of our industry needs to show solidarity, not just for our staff in these uncertain times but obviously for those who need the accommodation most in the coming months,’’ Neville added.
Giggs told SkySports that his former teammate Neville done was the right thing to do especially as there will be a shortage of rooms available for healthcare workers, some of them have a long commute going home.
“My mom was an auxiliary nurse for 25 years at Manchester Children’s Hospital so she has still got friends there and she gave us a heads up pretty early on that there would be a shortage of rooms for people to stay in so we took the measures of offering rooms in both our hotels for medical staff and NHS staff to use for free,’’ Giggs said via Sky Sports.
“The reaction has been good. It is the right thing to[do]. At the moment we have got 20 NHS staff staying at one hotel and 15 at the other. We expect in a week, both of those hotels to be full. That is around 170 rooms,’’ the current Wales coach added.
International football governing body Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) also did its part on donating 10 million US Dollars to World Health Organization (WHO) Solidarity Response Fund and establishing a Global Football Assistance Fund to help the football community in tackling the pandemic.
FIFA also partnered WHO to launch five key tactics in combating COVID-19 through hands, elbow, face, distance and feel and airing Public Service Announcement (PSA) featuring football starts via its social media channels about the disease.