Coronavirus, also known as COVID-19. Wherever you go, whatever TV channel you put on, whichever social media you choose to use, you can’t escape the biggest global crisis in decades. The first for my generation, which makes me think how lucky at least I’ve been my whole life. The pandemic has clouded us all with uncertainty and genuine fear for the coming months. Never did I think I would be speaking about a life threatening virus on this blog. But the severity of the situation has meant even our beautiful game of football hasn’t been able to escape from the clutches of this global crisis.
Football – Missing our game
There was a quote I read somewhere. Football is the most important of the least important things in the world, which is so true. It’s felt like months since Atletico Madrid stunned Liverpool at Anfield to knock the reigning champions out of the Champions League. You won’t believe me when I tell you it was TWO WEEKS ago. Self-isolation, social distancing and now weekends without the beautiful game have left us football fans feeling empty. What is meant to be temporary has felt like years without our beloved sport. Never will I take Newcastle vs Burnley for granted again. Football will return one day. But it doesn’t look like any time soon.
The absence of football has meant all we can do is reminisce over the good times. The amount of past games and highlight reels I’ve seen being posted on Twitter just makes me miss football even more. From a selfish point of view, even our small blog has been starved of content. But even in the worst of times for so many unlucky people on this planet, the football world has come together and shown significant support in the fight against Coronavirus.
It’s no secret footballers are in privileged positions and among the luckiest people on this planet. Doing what they love for astronomical wages, you couldn’t ask for more. But as much as they get criticised for how much they earn compared to other jobs in the economy, we’ve seen the best side of footballers come through. Players have been using their positions for the greater good, both financially and to raise awareness about this threat to the world.
So to appreciate the generosity of great human beings, let alone great players, we thought we would highlight how football world has united in the fight against COVID-19:
Donations, helping out and raising awareness
Members of the German national team squad have donated €2.5 million towards the effort.
Sadio Mane has donated €45,000 to his native Senegal alongside the charitable work he already does there.
Paul Pogba and Zlatan Ibrahimovic have started fundraisers for the fight against Coronavirus alongside pledging donations themselves.
Robert Lewandowski and his wife have donated €1 million.
Cristiano Ronaldo and Jorge Mendes have donated €1 million to intensive care units in Portugal.
Lionel Messi has donated €1 million to a hospital clinic in Barcelona.
Jose Mourinho was delivering essentials and delivered food to the vulnerable in Enfield.
Pep Guardiola has donated €1 million towards fighting COVID-19 in Spain.
Marcus Rashford raising awareness and money to fund free meals for vulnerable children.
Ashley Young raising awareness on social media about the severity of the virus and importance of staying at home.
Finally clubs such as Everton, Manchester United, Crystal Palace and I’m sure many others who I haven’t mentioned. They’ve pledged to continue paying their staff during these testing times.
Great acts of generosity and selflessness
Perhaps the most well known acts of generosity and good will by the football world have been by Gary Neville and Chelsea Football Club. Of course it’s not a competition about who can help the most or provide the most support. Yet the Manchester United legend and London club have gone a step above. It’s one thing making a donation in good will. It’s another thing offering your facilities and assets to National Health Service.
Neville of course has used his hotel businesses in Manchester to provide our heroic and no doubt tired NHS staff with much needed beds for free. Not to mention all staff working at the hotels will be fully paid without any loss jobs despite the hotel obviously being shut. Similarly, Chelsea have offered the NHS full use of their club’s own hotel in London with Roman Abramovich covering all the costs. Two acts of substantial generosity by people who are self-aware and kind enough to help those in need. Class acts.
Football – The beautiful game
As members of the public we expect footballers and other people in the best positions of society to use their position for the greater good. Not because of political views. But just as a basic expectation of morality from fellow human beings. Whether that be paying staff despite being closed, making donations towards the effort, using platforms to spread awareness. These are just some examples from what I expect is a long list of classy individuals. Everything counts and any help the strained healthcare services of the world can get could save so many lives.
“Look out for each other. Please don’t suffer alone, and remember that our great country has come through these enormous challenges before – and, together, we will do so again.”Gareth Southgate in his letter to England fans
It’s a tough time for many in terms of physical health, mental health, financial stability, job certainty and so many other reasons. From all us at Taste Of Football, our heartfelt condolences to anyone who has lost loved ones because of this virus. We wish anyone currently struggling because of the Coronavirus all the best for the times ahead. If we have any influence as a small football blog, all we can say is please stay home and save lives. If you can help in any way at all, whether that be via a donation or helping the vulnerable, even the smallest of contributions could save lives.
We’ll have to make sacrifices during these unprecedented and frightening times. But stay strong, we will get through this.
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