Max Whitlock and leading football clubs among those to reach out during pandemic

By PA Sport Staff
PA Media: Sport

Athletes, clubs and sport personalities have been 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 from Thursday.

Everton

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The Toffees have had a number of players and manager Carlo Ancelotti calling up fans who are vulnerable and self-isolating following the launch of their Blue Family campaign on Friday.

Centre-back Michael Keane told BBC Breakfast: “It’s strange, it’s not something I’m used to. Normally when we’re not playing football we’re on holiday or off elsewhere, it’s rare that we spend a lot of time in our own homes when we’re not playing football.

“They (Everton) are always thinking of different things we can do to help and when you make these phone calls and do these things, it gives you a lot of satisfaction to see how happy you can make people and that little difference that you can make can go a long way.”

Newcastle

Newcastle great Bob Moncur and club staff also took time to telephone elderly and vulnerable supporters who face long periods of self-isolation during the outbreak.

Moncur, who was the Magpies captain when they last won a major trophy – the 1969 European Fairs Cup, said on Newcastle’s official website: “It’s very important for people to keep people in touch and this is a great way to check that supporters are keeping safe and happy.

“I’m not sure young supporters will remember most of my stories anyway, but older fans usually do and they have their own perspective from the stands.

“I was on the pitch so there are things I wouldn’t have noticed or experienced, but they teach me things from their years of following the club and some have been significant moments in their lives. It keeps us all younger!”

Newcastle managing director Lee Charnley said the club would continue to look at ways to expand the scheme to reach as many older supporters as possible.

Max Whitlock

The double Olympic gold medal-winning gymnast is set to launch a live-streamed video workout on his YouTube channel to encourage young gymnasts to keep fit during the nationwide lockdown.

The ongoing ‘Whitlock Workouts’ will go alongside his twice-weekly ‘GymnasticsWithMax’ sessions.

Whitlock told the PA news agency: “I wanted to do something to help all these millions of kids who can’t go out and do what they want to do, and the gymnasts who can’t go along to their training gyms.

“I think it’s important that when we get back to normality, kids won’t turn away from gymnastics. I want them to keep that buzz within them and hopefully by sharing these sorts of sessions that will help.”

Bundesliga

The Bundesliga’s Champions League clubs have pledged 20 million euros (£18.3m) to support fellow German teams during the pandemic.

Bayern Munich, Borussia Dortmund, RB Leipzig and Bayer Leverkusen will forego their share of the national media revenue and donate the remainder from their own money, it was announced on Thursday.

The aim is to provide financial support to teams in the Bundesliga and the second division, with the German Football League (DFL) to decide how the funds will be distributed.

Cricket

Essex have changed the colour of their crest from its traditional red to blue and white in support of the NHS.

The county also urged  people to join in the nationwide recognition of the work being done by NHS workers by applauding at 8pm on Thursday.

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