Every gesture, no matter how small it may seem, is important when fighting a global pandemic. In the time of COVID-19, it is essential for communities to be pulling in the same direction and to working together, firstly by staying at home and secondly by finding other innovative and thoughtful ways to contribute.
The clubs of LaLiga have been quick to rise to the challenge, through a variety of different public health initiatives. From financial donations to the supplying of essential materials or even blood, the football industry has been decisive in its response. LaLiga clubs have donated medical supplies, made significant financial contributions and promoted various campaigns. The acts go as far as offering use of stadiums and volunteering to work with medical services.
The current initiatives of LaLiga Santander clubs are as follows:
Athletic Club: Via its Twitter account, the Basque Health Service, Osakidetza, recently confirmed, without revealing specific details, that the Bilbao club have made a valuable contribution through its players and coaches from both the men’s and women’s teams.
Athletic Club has also paid tribute to all the health personnel who work tirelessly in the fight against the coronavirus, illuminating the stadium in blue and projecting a message of thanks in San Mamés: “You give your soul for us, thank you very much from the heart”, the message reads.
Atlético de Madrid: “The health personnel are our team and they need basic protective equipment. They are ours. ” This is the message of Diego Pablo Simeone, coach of Atlético de Madrid, in the charity campaign of the rojiblanca entity #LoDamosTodo led by the coach in support of the club’s foundation and the Red Cross. The objective of this solidarity initiative is to raise funds for the acquisition and distribution of medical equipment for the health workers who are intervening in this crisis.
CA Osasuna: The Pamplona-based club has offered its Tajonar training facilities, to the Government of Navarra in case they can be of use.
CD Leganés: the Madrid club, through its foundation and in collaboration with the city council, has donated €200,000 to the Severo Ochoa Hospital with the aim of obtaining gowns, tests, water, disinfectants, blankets, masks and all the necessary and useful material that the hospital currently needs.
Deportivo Alavés: The local Vitoria community has collaborated to a GoFoundMe initiative that aims to raise more than €50,000 for local health professionals. More than €12,000 has been contributed by the Basque club. It has also made financial contributions to protect the professionals who work in the Álava Comprehensive Health Organization (OSI Araba).
FC Barcelona: The Blaugrana has made its facilities available to the Health Department of the Generalitat de Catalunya, including its stadium and supporting annexes. The Catalan side has also adapted the ‘T’Acompanyem’ (“We accompany you”) programme which, in collaboration with the Red Cross, takes place at Camp Nou on match days with all those who have mobility problems. Now, however, the programme is called ‘T’Acompanyem a Casa’ (“We accompany you at home”) and aims to contact club fans over the age of 80, to inform and assist them and provide support during the crisis.
FC Barcelona captain Leo Messi has also made a significant financial donation to be shared between the Hospital Clínc de Barcelona and various hospital centres in his home country, Argentina.
Getafe CF: The Community of Madrid club will make a significant financial contribution to the Getafe University Hospital to cover current health needs such as waterproof gowns, surgical masks, FFP2 masks, shoe covers, gloves and hats.
Granada CF: The Andalusian club has entered a partnership with a local company to provide face masks made of non-woven textile to centres and institutions where need is highest. The club will thus participate in the creation of more than 4,000 daily masks whose material has been provided by companies across the city and will be in charge of disinfecting them within the facilities of the New Los Cármenes Stadium through a novel ozone-based disinfection system.
Levante UD: The Levante UD ‘Cent Anys’ Foundation has joined the club in launching the ‘Granotas solidarios’ campaign with which, thanks to financial donations received, it will buy medical supplies for Valencian public health workers and older residents. Thanks to this initiative, 6,000 EPI protective suits, 6,000 protective glasses, 50,000 FFP2 masks and 100,000 3 PLY masks have already been purchased.
RC Celta de Vigo: The club is collaborating with the Galician Organ and Blood Donation Agency to provide blood donation.
RCD Espanyol de Barcelona: The Catalan club has donated 6,000 masks to different medical and hospital centres, specifically the Nens Hospital, the Corachan Clinic, the Maresme Health Consortium, the Garraf Health Consortium and the Red Cross. In addition, the club has offered the RCDE Stadium and the sports city to install equipment in case the authorities so require.
Real Betis: Along with its foundation, the Andalusian club has donated sanitary materials used by its medical team to the Virgen del Rocío Hospital. Among the delivered material, there are more than 5,000 protective gloves and more than 100 masks, as well as tubing and disinfection material.
In addition, Real Betis women’s football player Ana Romero, popularly known as Willy, has also volunteered her services as a doctor, publishing the message “Available for whatever it takes, where I am needed,” on her social networks. The Sevillian forward, who also has a degree in medicine, has made her knowledge and experience available to the Spanish Ministry of Health. In addition José Manuel Álvarez, doctor of the first team of Real Betis, has offered the public, through his personal profile on social networks, consultation on any health concerns about the coronavirus, with the aim of reducing the burden on local healthcare services.
Real Madrid CF: Los Blancos have made an important donation to health services in addition to the financial contribution that the club and its players have made to UNICEF. In collaboration with Spain’s High Sports Council, the club will convert the Santiago Bernabéu Stadium into a centre for the provision of medical supplies that will be handed over to the Spanish health authorities, so that optimal and efficient use of these resources can be made.
Real Sociedad: Led by captain Asier Illarramendi as part of the #CoronaVida initiative, the club has led a call for donations to the Hurkoa Foundation.
Real Valladolid: Joining forces with the University of Valladolid, the club’s foundation is helping to produce thousands of protective facemasks to be used by health services.
Sevilla FC: A fan of the Andalusian club by the name of Juan Carlos is currently in the Virgen Macarena Hospital with coronavirus. Through an action by Sevilla FC player Franco ‘Mudo’ Vázquez, the footballer organised a surprise call to send his support and encouragement to the fan.
Valencia CF: The club has donated 50,000 masks and 300 thermometers for Valencian hospitals.
Villarreal CF: The Yellow Submarine has launched the #CuentaConmigo (“Count on me”) campaign, which aims to guarantee essential food for families with limited resources and groups at risk of social exclusion through the Caritas Vila-real organisation. Due to the current situation of confinement, this not-for-profit company does not have the usual collection of provisions, nor does it have regular volunteers. This has motivated Villarreal CF, the first team and the Carlos Bacca Foundation to commit to supplying the food, which will be cooked at the Estadio de la Cerámica facilities, to ensure the delivery of more than 200 meals a day to Cáritas so that it can continue with its solidarity work.