Coronavirus: How Premier League clubs are trying to help

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March 20, 2020
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    Mikel Arteta

    Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta was the first Premier League boss to test positive for coronavirus

    English football has been suspended until at least 30 April because of the continued spread of coronavirus.

    But how have Premier League clubs been affected so far? And what work are they looking to carry out in the community?

    Arsenal

    Arsenal are looking to support the community in Islington as their Emirates stadium and offices remain closed down.

    “We continue to support our local community in these difficult times and we are in discussions with local groups to find new ways to support our most vulnerable groups as the situation develops,” the club said.

    “We are liaising with the local authority and the areas being explored range from providing online coaching and teaching, and staff volunteering to have regular phone contact with elderly local people feeling isolated. We are also looking into how we can support our casual workers.”

    Gunners boss Mikel Arteta, 37, was the first Premier League manager to test positive for coronavirus.

    The club’s training grounds have now reopened with a small workforce to maintain the facilities and pitches.

    Evangelos Marinakis, the owner of Olympiakos – the Greek side who played Arsenal in the Europa League in February – announced he had coronavirus on 10 March.

    Aston Villa

    Hot food for hospitality areas that had been prepared for the postponed game against Chelsea was distributed to homeless organisations and sheltered accommodation units through the Aston Villa Foundation.

    Brighton

    Brighton will phone older supporters at home to catch up during a period of isolation.

    “We are a community club and it’s a small but practical thing we can do to support people that mean a lot to us and who have been there for the club over many years,” said chief executive Paul Barber.

    “I have already read so many stories of our supporters stepping up to help others in need, and that brings some light to these otherwise difficult and uncertain times for everyone. Kindness costs nothing.”

    Brighton have suspended training for at least the next two weeks.

    Burnley

    The Clarets are working with the council and a community housing company to support the town’s foodbank.

    The playing squad have made a collective cash donation which has been matched by the football club.

    “We know there are going to be difficult times for people and their families with regards work and income,” said captain Ben Mee.

    “The club is behind people in the community, as the players are. The boys wanted to do their bit to help out. And if there is a need for other things we will look at that.”

    Chelsea

    NHS hospital staff are to be put up in a hotel owned by Chelsea.

    The club said the Millennium Hotel at Stamford Bridge will be made available to medics in north-west London.

    The NHS said it was “enormously grateful” to the club and was looking for similar offers of support.

    England forward Callum Hudson-Odoi, 19, was the first Premier League player to have a positive test result for coronavirus.

    Callum Hudson-Odoi

    Chelsea have said England winger Callum Hudson-Odoi is “doing well” and “looking forward to returning to the training ground as soon as possible” after he became the first Premier League player to test positive for coronavirus

    Crystal Palace

    Crystal Palace chairman Steve Parish says all employees will receive full pay during the coronavirus outbreak.

    Parish said in a club statement that staff would not be placed on statutory sick pay “for health issues relating to Covid-19”.

    He also promised that matchday staff who have lost work because of the suspension of the league will not be “disadvantaged financially”.

    Everton

    Everton have launched a ‘Blue Family’ scheme, a campaign to maintain contact with fans and provide vital support and assistance to “some of the most vulnerable, socially isolated and at-risk members of the community”.

    The club have given £50,000 to launch the scheme which will deliver food parcels, give phone credit to those who need it and offer mental health support and advice.

    Everton chief executive, Professor Denise Barrett-Baxendale, said: “Society is facing an unprecedented challenge. Everton has never shied away from its responsibility as a club at the heart of the community.”

    Leicester City

    Leicester will “continue to offer support to partner schools through activities for vulnerable young people and children of key workers” once schools close on Friday.

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    Leicester trio ‘kept away from the squad’ after showing coronavirus symptoms – Rodgers

    Liverpool

    Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp backed the decision to temporarily postpone the Premier League and, in a letter to the club’s fans, wrote: “The decision and announcement is being implemented with the motive of keeping people safe. Because of that we support it completely.”

    Forward Sadio Mane has made a donation of 30m CFA francs – about 45,000 euros (£41,000) – to the national committee fighting against coronavirus in his home country of Senegal, while players contributed to a £50,000 donation to Fans Supporting Foodbanks – a joint initiative between Liverpool and Everton to tackle food poverty in the Merseyside area.

    A charity match at Anfield, between Liverpool Legends and Barcelona Legends, scheduled for Saturday, 28 March, has also been postponed.

    Manchester City

    Food ordered for postponed matches against Arsenal and Burnley was donated to local charities across Manchester, while flowers which were ordered for various locations around the stadium for the Burnley game were given to a local care home.

    Manchester United

    Manchester United will continue to pay all casual matchday staff even if the remainder of their season is cancelled or played behind closed doors.

    Old Trafford will host four Premier League matches if the season resumes. It is understood the payments total £1m and cover more than 3,000 staff.

    The club also say staff will be paid should postponed fixtures be rearranged for another date.

    Newcastle United

    Newcastle donated food, including 1,200 pies and a range of cold meats, to a foodbank to ensure they are redirected to some of the city’s most vulnerable people after last weekend’s match against Sheffield United was postponed.

    Southampton

    Southampton have suspended all non-school based community sessions for two weeks but will review their strategy.

    “Saints foundation recognises that this is an incredibly difficult time for our community, particularly people from high risk groups,” they said.

    “While many of our traditional sessions are currently suspended, we are working on plans for the best use our resources, to support those most in need over the coming weeks and months.”

    Tottenham Hotspur

    Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy says the coronavirus pandemic is the most serious issue he has had to deal with during his 20 years in charge.

    The club will continue foundation work such as online employability courses where they can.

    “We are fully aware of how important foundation programmes are to the health and wellbeing of participants – where possible, we shall endeavour to maintain contact with participants to offer support and advice during this difficult time,” they said.

    Watford

    Watford have launched a campaign called ‘Hornets At Home’ aimed at helping elderly and disabled supporters. It is a general appeal seeking volunteers to aid those who can’t easily get out of the house with daily tasks.

    Wolves

    Wolves chairman Jeff Shi has warned football fans not to “underestimate” coronavirus.

    He said all staff who had been sent home “continue to be paid for the duration of the club’s closure and this period of uncertainty”.

    “Please stay safe and don’t take any risks,” he added. “Look after yourselves and look after each other. We will get through this.”

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