European football stands united against COVID-19 crisis: Romania

  • Footballers use popularity to advise expats to stay away to safeguard health
  • Bucharest’s two biggest clubs fund life-saving equipment for capital’s hospitals
  • National stadium converted to 24/7 emergency helpline centre

Miodrag Belodedici appears in a national association-funded video advising all Romanians living abroad to help slow the spread of COVID-19 by not travelling back to their homeland
Miodrag Belodedici appears in a national association-funded video advising all Romanians living abroad to help slow the spread of COVID-19 by not travelling back to their homeland ©FRF

Former internationals Miodrag Belodedici and Adrian Mutu, together with current national team member Alexandru Pașcanu, appear in a national association-funded video advising all Romanians living abroad to help slow the spread of COVID-19 by not travelling back to their homeland.

In Bucharest, the owners of the capital’s two biggest clubs, Fotbal Club FCSB and FC Dinamo București, are both helping the public health authorities:

  • Fotbal Club FCSB owner George Becali has purchased furniture, medical equipment, masks, special protection gowns, computers and televisions for several hospitals in Bucharest.
  • Ionuț Negoiță, owner of FC Dinamo București, is providing free accommodation in one of his hotels for doctors and medical staff unable to go home to their families after finishing late shifts treating COVID-19 patients.
  • Former national team captain Gheorghe Popescu and current international Răzvan Marin and Negoiță also made personal donations to the telethon ‘Romanians together’ to raise funds for equipping intensive care units.

Each day, a chain of Italian restaurants owned by Cosmin Olăroiu, currently head coach of Chinese side Jiangsu Suning, is delivering 100 hot meals to staff at Bucharest’s main hospital for infectious diseases, the Victor Babeș. Money raised from the sale of tickets for an online match between Rapid București and Petrolul Ploiesti was donated to the Matei Balş National Institute of Infectious Diseases.

Second division team Ripensia Timișoara has raised around €10,000 for Timișoara’s Victor Babeș Hospital.

Fourth division ACS Steagul Roșu Brașov is sending donations to the local hospital for infectious diseases.

Fans of second division team ASU Poli Timișoara, as well as players for third division team CS Blejoi, have volunteered to deliver groceries to the city’s vulnerable elderly citizens, who are self-isolating to avoid contracting the virus.

In the city of Slatina, Răzvan Raț, capped 113 times by his country, has offered to use his hotel to host anyone placed in quarantine.

Bucharest’s city council has converted two media centres at the Arena Națională, the capital’s national football stadium, into an emergency 24/7 COVID-19 helpline centre.