Real Madrid’s stadium to be used in fight against coronavirus | Football

The Santiago Bernabéu will be turned into a storage and distribution centre for medical materials donated to the health authorities as the coronavirus crisis continues in Spain.

Two days ago the head of the Madrid regional government, Isabel Díaz Ayuso, publicly thanked Real Madrid for what she described as a “big donation in health materials” after a conversation with the club’s president, Florentino Pérez. A donation was also made by Atlético Madrid. Now, the Spanish sports council and Real Madrid have announced their famous 78,000-capacity stadium will be used to store donations made in the fight against Covid-19.

Madrid will use their charitable foundation to receive financial donations and have set up a point of contact to collect and receive donations of materials which will then be stored at the stadium, authority for which has been handed to the ministry of health.

The move continues a trend of emergency solutions to the crisis, with buildings being adapted to aid the state. A field hospital with 5,000 beds was erected in Madrid’s IFEMA conference centre and the ice rink nearby has been converted into a morgue. Madrid’s stadium has hosted the final of the World Cup, European Cup and Copa Libertadores.

Spain has the world’s second highest death toll from coronavirus, behind Italy and surpassing China. Of 4,089 deaths as of Thursday morning, 2,090 were in Madrid.

Isabel Díaz Ayuso, the president of the community of Madrid who has tested positive for coronavirus, tweeted her gratitude to David de Gea on Thursday night after the Manchester United goalkeeper pledged a substantial sum towards the fight against the disease.

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Meanwhile Barcelona are yet to reach an agreement with their players over the application of a pay cut that could be as high as 70% for as long as coronavirus lockdown lasts in Spain. The players are understood to be receptive to a reduction in salary and discussions are continuing but, in consultation with the players’ union the AFE, they rejected the first proposal.

The intention is for any measures to apply equally to every athlete at the club, from the men’s and women’s football teams to the B team and the under-19s to those who play basketball, handball, futsal and roller hockey. But the impact would be felt differently across each sector and negotiations also continue with those who play other sports for the club.

Labour legislation in Spain allows for companies to apply ERTES – temporary measures to lay off staff or reduce wages in circumstances such as these – but Barcelona prefer to negotiate a settlement. If they are unable to reach agreement, the club could apply the changes unilaterally but they are reluctant to do so. The relationship between boardroom and dressing room is already fraught. There are also likely to be measures applied to non-sporting staff.

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