There has been plenty of discussion about football’s response to the coronavirus pandemic in recent weeks, and Frank Lampard has praised the work Chelsea has done to help those on the front line as well as supporters young and old.
Early on in the crisis we made the Millennium Hotel available to NHS staff, many of whom are working long shifts at this unprecedented time and may not be able to travel home.
The men’s squad also made a sizeable donation to the Chelsea Foundation in March to provide support to local hospitals. There have been online tutorials for young fans, a raising of awareness and funds for the domestic abuse charity Refuge, and also calls from Chelsea staff to elderly Blues supporters.
‘I am very proud to be manager of this club with the way Chelsea have handled it,’ said Lampard.
‘They were very quick to respond to help with the hotel. There is a lot more work they are doing with the Foundation, with link-ups, getting in touch with fans, putting on tutorials with some of the Academy coaches. There are a lot of people at Chelsea who have really stood up and done a lot of good work.’
More recently many of our players came together with their colleagues from around the Premier League to help form the #PlayersTogether initiative, a contribution fund through which they can channel their own donations into the NHS frontline. Lampard believes political criticism of elite footballers was premature.
‘I have been watching it closely with a lot of people talking about it, and I completely understand what a lot of prominent people in football have said: that players will do the right thing. They needed some time, and I think the politicians jumped the gun while things were being prepared. People behind the scenes knew that. It was unfortunate that picture got painted.
‘But since then a lot of players and clubs have stood up in a good way. Not every situation has been perfect, but knowing players and how they think, that’s been a very good reaction. It’s ongoing, and it shouldn’t stop. That reaction needs to continue.
‘If there is a light at the end of this tunnel, if there are things we can all learn, it’s how we give back and how we stick together. It’s very easily said, it’s much harder done, and I think there have been a lot of good gestures that have shown that.’