La liga raises half-million euro to fight coronavirus

March 30, 2020
Real Madrid’s Sergio Ramos celebrates as he runs past Barcelona’s Lionel Messi during the Spanish La Liga match between Real Madrid and Barcelona at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium in Madrid, Spain, Sunday, March 1, 2020.
Real Madrid’s Sergio Ramos celebrates as he runs past Barcelona’s Lionel Messi during the Spanish La Liga match between Real Madrid and Barcelona at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium in Madrid, Spain, Sunday, March 1, 2020.

The Spanish league says more than EU665,000 has been raised for the fight against the coronavirus outbreak with the help of athletes and musicians in Spain.

The final tally was announced a day after the athletes and musicians took part in a four-hour online global music festival organised by the league to help purchase medical supplies and support fans confined to their homes.

Barcelona's Gerard Pique, Real Madrid's Sergio Ramos, and tennis star Rafael Nadal were among those who participated in the charity event. Celebrities included singers Aitana, Alejandro Sanz, Beret and Luis Fonsi, actress Danna Paola, music bands Morat and Taburete, and Chinese pianist Lang Lang.

Meanwhile, Italy's sports minister is planning to extend the ban on games and competitions in the country through all of April.

The current nationwide lockdown is due to expire on Friday but Italian health experts have said the need to try to contain COVID-19 will likely last weeks beyond that.

Minister Vincenzo Spadafora tells Italian daily La Repubblica that talks about restarting the Serie A football league on May 3 are "unrealistic."

He adds: "(Today) I will propose extending the ban on sports competitions at every level for all of April. And I'll extend the measure to training -- an area where we hadn't intervened because there was still a possibility of holding the Olympics."

Some clubs like Lazio and Napoli had been pushing to restart training as soon as this week.

At least 15 Serie A players have tested positive for COVID-19.

Overall, Italy has nearly 100,000 positive cases and days ago surpassed the total in China, where the outbreak began in late 2019.

Spadafora says he's hoping Serie A officials show "a serious desire to change. The big clubs live in a bubble, beyond their means, starting with the millionaire wages of the players. They need to understand that nothing will be like before anymore after this crisis."

To that end, on Saturday Cristiano Ronaldo and his Juventus teammates along with coach Maurizio Sarri agreed to forgo EU90 million (US$100 million) in wages to help the club during the crisis.

Spadafora also says that he will allocate EU400 million (US$450 million) for recovery efforts at amateur sports associations.

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