Heather Knight and BCCI lead sport’s coronavirus goodwill gestures

Athletes, clubs and sport personalities have been showing support for the community, reaching out to vulnerable members of the public, their fan bases and colleagues during the coronavirus pandemic.

Here, the PA news agency takes a look at some of the sporting goodwill stories to emerge on March 28.

Cricket

England Women cricket captain Heather Knight is one of the hundreds of thousands of people to have signed up for the NHS volunteer scheme.

“I have a lot of free time on my hands and I want to help as much as I can,” Knight wrote in her BBC column.

“My brother and his partner are doctors, and I have a few friends who work in the NHS, so I know how hard they are working and how difficult it is for everyone.

“I’m going to get the car out as I’ve volunteered to transport medicine, and also speak to people who are self-isolating.”

England’s World Cup winning captain Eoin Morgan has also added his voice to the sport stars showing their appreciation for the NHS to reinforce the message of staying home to help save lives.

Elsewhere, the Board of Control for Cricket in India has donated some 51 crores (£5.47million) to the Prime Minister’s Relief Fund in the fight against Covid-19.

India is under a 21-day lockdown aimed at containing the spread of the virus across one of the world’s most densely-populated countries of some 1.3 billion people.

A BCCI statement read: “The outbreak of the Coronavirus is first and foremost a public health emergency and the BCCI has a firm resolve that the nation gets all possible help to cope with the testing times.”

Football

Manchester City are also helping to spread the word over social distancing, with players posting video messages on the Premier League club’s Twitter feed.

City’s England forward Raheem Sterling said: “The NHS have been doing a fantastic job, so let’s help then continue doing their wonderful works by just staying at home, protecting our NHS and saving lives… come on guys!”

Midfielder Ilkay Gundogan, meanwhile, has made a private donation to support the community in the Heinsberg district of his native Germany.

The 29-year-old has teamed up with the Football Association of the Middle Rhine (FVM), Heinsberg County, amateur club SVG Birgden-Langbroich-Schierwaldenrath and a supermarket in Birgden to help those impacted by Covid-19.

The initiative will include providing help with shopping for those unable to leave home for supplies, as well as care packages for front-line nurses on the intensive care units at local hospitals.

FVM president Bernd Neuendorf said: “Football is a strong engine for the cohesion in our society.

“Our amateurs and professionals prove this during these weeks with many impressive acts of kindness. They all know that people depend on them to do more than just score goals.”

Wales international Aaron Ramsey has donated £10,000 to the Cardiff and Vale Health charity.

The Juventus midfielder, who was born in Caerphilly, backed the appeal which raises money for local NHS doctors and nurses to help to benefit patients through the ‘Make It Better Fund’.

“We really appreciate all of your hard work, AR,” the 29-year-old said in his donation message on the charity’s JustGiving page.

Boxing

Promoter Eddie Hearn has vowed to reward NHS staff fighting the coronavirus pandemic with free tickets to all his major boxing shows over the next 12 months.

Some 200 tickets per show will be donated by Matchroom Boxing – including for Anthony Joshua’s next world heavyweight title defence against Kubrat Pulev and Dereck Chisora’s clash with Oleksandr Usyk.

“We can’t thank you enough for all of your support. NHS workers, you have been absolutely incredible, and you are the pride of our country,” Hearn said.

“Stay well everyone, stay safe, stay at home and we’ll get through this soon.”

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