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European football stands united against COVID-19 crisis: Wales

  • Football stadiums made available to National Health Service (NHS) for emergency facilities
  • Ryan Giggs, Gareth Bale and Sophie Ingle spread NHS stay at home message
  • Domestic league clubs raise funds for health care services

Principality Stadium's pitch in Cardiff has been converted into the Dragon's Heart Hospital
Principality Stadium's pitch in Cardiff has been converted into the Dragon's Heart Hospital ©FAW

To help the National Health Service (NHS) prepare for the large number of patients likely to need intensive care during the COVID-19 outbreak, the Principality Stadium’s pitch in Cardiff, which was hosting Six Nations’ rugby matches a little over a month ago, has been converted into the Dragon’s Heart Hospital. Tented structures now run the length of the pitch, with 300 beds made available on Easter Sunday – just two weeks after construction started. Swansea City has also offered the Liberty Stadium for NHS use.

Several national team players are also helping, either by raising public awareness of the need to stay at home to slow the spread of the coronavirus or by raising funds for vital medical equipment:

Wales coach Ryan Giggs and star player Gareth Bale have both recorded videos for Public Health Wales and the NHS, while the women’s team captain Sophie Ingle has published an open letter urging the public to follow NHS health recommendations during the COVID-19 outbreak. Juventus and Wales national team midfielder Aaron Ramsey has donated £10,000 towards a charity supporting health service workers in Wales.

Players, managers and clubs from Welsh domestic leagues are pledging support to an online fundraising campaign started by Aberystwyth Town FC’s captain Marc Williams in support of Welsh health services. In addition, Bangor City FC president Domenico Serafino has donated £5,000 to the intensive care unit of the city’s local hospital.

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