Sport stars rally to donate money amid coronavirus pandemic

Athletes and teams around the world contribute to hospitals, stadium workers and others affected by COVID-19.

La Liga Santander - FC Barcelona v Real Sociedad
Argentina's Lionel Messi donated one million euros ($1.08 million) to help a public hospital in Barcelona fight the outbreak [Albert Gea/Reuters]

As the novel coronavirus continues to rapidly spread around the world, a growing number of sport stars and teams have donated millions of dollars to help medical workers and hospitals fight the global pandemic. 

The outbreak of COVID-19 has already wreaked havoc on the sporting calendar, forcing the postponement of the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games and the suspension of many major professional sports. Several sportspeople have also tested positive for the disease.

On Wednesday, Swiss tennis superstar Roger Federer and his wife Mirka said they have donated one million Swiss francs ($1.02 million) “for the most vulnerable families” in Switzerland, which has 9,765 confirmed cases and a death toll of 103.

“These are challenging times for everyone and nobody should be left behind,” the former world number one wrote on his Twitter and Instagram accounts. 

“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.”

Footballers Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo have also reportedly donated one million euros ($1.1 million) each to the cause. 

Messi’s donation went to Hospital Clinic in Barcelona, which is both treating the victims of the pandemic and researching the virus.

Portugal and Juventus forward Cristiano Ronaldo and his agent Jorge Mendes also jointly donated life-saving equipment to Portuguese hospitals in Lisbon and Porto.


English Premier League football teams Brighton and Bournemouth became the first clubs to sign up to a campaign to make 100,000 free football tickets available to UK medical workers on the front line during the coronavirus outbreak.

Meanwhile, more than 100 athletes from 20 different sports have donated signed memorabilia to be auctioned off by the “Athletes For COVID-19 Relief” fund, which benefits the Center for Disaster Philanthropy’s COVID-19 Response Fund.

In the US, NBA teams Los Angeles Lakers, Clippers, Sacramento Kings, Philadelphia 76ers, San Antonia Spurs among many others have agreed to compensate hourly workers and stadium staff during the NBA season’s hiatus. The Golden State Warriors pledged to donate one million dollars to a disaster relief fund. 

Teams in Major League Baseball and the National Hockey League have also made similar gestures. 

In Pakistan, where daily wage workers are struggling to make ends meet amid the pandemic, former cricket captain Shahid Afridi and his charity are distributing food supplies, disinfectant soap and other essentials to groups who need them.

Bangladeshi cricketers have also said they contributed half of their monthly salaries – a combined total of approximately $30,000 – to fund the fight against coronavirus.

Globally, more than 436,000 people have been infected, while 19,648 have died because of the virus, according to data collected by the Johns Hopkins University in the US. 

Source: Al Jazeera, News Agencies