Football, tennis celebrities donate big amounts to coronavirus battle

This combination photo shows, from left, soccer stars Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo and Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola, who have each donated 1 million euros ($1.08 million) to help with the battle against the new coronavirus. (AP Photo)
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Updated 26 March 2020

Football, tennis celebrities donate big amounts to coronavirus battle

  • Messi and Guardiola donated 1 million euros each; Ronaldo donated lifesaving equipment
  • Former tennis world No. 1 Federer and his wife donated 1 million Swiss Francs

MADRID: Roger Federer, Lionel Messi, Pep Guardiola and Cristiano Ronaldo on Wednesday poured in their support for the battle against the coronavirus as the death toll in Europe jumped further.
Barcelona forward Lionel Messi and Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola started the ball rolling by each donating one million euros ($1.08 million).
Argentina international Messi’s donation will be split between Hospital Clinic in Barcelona and another medical center in his home country, according to a report in Marca.
“Leo Messi made a donation to the clinic to fight the coronavirus,” Hospital Clinic wrote on Twitter. “Thank you very much, Leo, for your commitment and your support.”
Former Barcelona player and manager Guardiola made his contribution to a campaign launched by the Angel Soler Daniel Foundation and Medical College of Barcelona.
“Pep Guardiola has made a donation of one million euros to the Angel Soler Daniel Foundation for the acquisition and supply of health equipment to deal with the Covid-19 pandemic,” said a statement from the College.
“The donation campaign promoted by the Medical College of Barcelona and managed through the Angel Soler Daniel Foundation aims to collect medical materials and financial contributions from collegiate doctors and the general population, for the purchase of medical equipment and equipment that is currently lacking in health centers in Catalonia.
“It will also help finance the alternative production, through 3D printing and other methods, of respirators and personal protection equipment for health care staff.”
Before Guardiola made his donation, the campaign had raised 33,000 euros in three days.
Portugal and Juventus forward Cristiano Ronaldo and his agent Jorge Mendes also came together to donate lifesaving equipment to Portuguese hospitals.




Swiss tennis champion Roger Federer and his wife Mirka have donated 1 million of Swiss francs "for the most vulnerable families in Switzerland" and have called on others on March 25, 2020 to add their support. (AFP / Johannes Eisele)


Federer's donation
Tennis superstar Federer of Switzerland and his wife donated one million Swiss Francs ($1.02 million) to vulnerable families in his native Switzerland.
"These are challenging times for everyone and nobody should be left behind," Federer wrote in a statement posted on Twitter.
"Mirka and I have personally decided to donate one million Swiss Francs for the most vulnerable families in Switzerland."
Globally, more than 420,700 people have been infected by the novel coronavirus and 18,820 have died, according to a Reuters tally. Switzerland has nearly 9,900 confirmed cases with 122 deaths.
"Our contribution is just a start," Federer added. "We hope that others might join in supporting more families in need. Together we can overcome this crisis."
Federer, a 20-times Grand Slam winner, is currently recovering from a knee surgery he underwent last month and was targeting a return in June in time for Wimbledon.
The tennis season is, however, suspended until June 7 due to the pandemic.
"These are challenging times for everyone and nobody should be left behind," Federer wrote in a statement posted on Twitter.
Spain is the country worst affected by the disease in Europe outside of Italy, with 2,696 deaths and almost 40,000 positive cases.
The region of Catalonia, where Guardiola is from and where Messi has lived since joining Barca aged 13, is one of the worst-affected parts of the country.
Switzerland has nearly 9,900 confirmed cases with 122 deaths.
Globally, more than 420,700 people have been infected by the novel coronavirus and 18,820 have died, according to a Reuters tally.


Villa’s Grealish apologizes, fined for breaking isolation rules

Updated 30 March 2020

Villa’s Grealish apologizes, fined for breaking isolation rules

  • West Midlands Police said they were called on Sunday to an address in Solihull, near Birmingham, where the two parked cars suffered minor damage
  • Villa expressed their disappointment with Grealish and said the 24-year-old will be fined with the proceeds going to a children’s hospital in Birmingham

LONDON: Aston Villa captain Jack Grealish posted a public apology on Monday for breaking UK government guidelines on social distancing as police opened an investigation into an incident in which a Range Rover crashed into parked cars.
Villa expressed their disappointment with Grealish and said the 24-year-old will be fined with the proceeds going to a children’s hospital in Birmingham.
West Midlands Police said they were called on Sunday to an address in Solihull, near Birmingham, where the two parked cars suffered minor damage.
The force said the driver had left his details with a member of the public before leaving on foot.
“I just want to do a quick video message to say how deeply embarrassed I am about what has happened this weekend,” Grealish said in a video posted on Twitter.
“I obviously just got a call off a friend asking to go round to his and stupidly agreed to do so. I don’t want anyone to make the same mistake that I did, so I urge everyone to stay home and follow the rules and guidelines of what we are being asked to do.”
The British government has introduced restrictions on citizens leaving their homes only to shop for food and medicine, essential travel for work and one form of exercise a day to help halt the spread of coronavirus.
“Aston Villa is deeply disappointed that one of our players ignored the government’s guidance on staying at home during the Coronavirus crisis,” Villa said in a statement.
“Club captain Jack Grealish has accepted that his decision to leave his house was wrong and entirely unnecessary. It breached the government guidelines which are clear and should be adhered to by everybody.
“The player will be disciplined and fined with the proceeds donated to The University Hospitals Charity in Birmingham.”
Less than 24 hours before the incident, Grealish was part of a video appeal for people to stay at home during the lockdown.
“I hope everyone can accept my apology and we can move on from this,” added Grealish. “Hopefully in the near future we can all be out enjoying ourselves again.”
In a statement about the incident, West Midlands Police added: “Officers are investigating the circumstances and anyone with information has been asked to get in touch.”
Grealish has been Villa’s star performer on their return to the Premier League this season and was expected to earn a first call-up by England for friendlies against Denmark and Italy this month prior to football’s shutdown due to COVID-19.