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Sport Professionals with a Big Heart and Deep Pockets

This post is also available in: Deutsch (German) Português (Portuguese (Brazil)) Italiano (Italian)

The Corona crisis has left many people in need. Apart from the pure illness and the containment of the pandemic, it is also a matter of financial survival for many people affected by the numerous cancellations of major events. But also, other industries are heavily impacted by the economic consequences of lockdowns. Some even face financial hardship and are even dependant on charities, like food banks or other support.

Many sportsmen and women from the world of tennis, soccer, basketball and other sports are very generous when it comes to helping the less fortunate. Some professional athletes not only regularly donate to aid organisations, but have even founded their own aid organisations

There are only a few sports where the best of the best can earn as much money as in football. But even though the sport professional’s pockets are not as deep as the ones from Ronaldo, one should be aware of the social responsibility and use its presence to become socially active.

Let’s have a look at the world of soccer and their charities first. 

German football professionals and clubs show solidarity in the Corona crisis. The German national soccer team donated 2.5 million euros to the good cause.  Another German soccer organisation that helps is the DFB (German Football Association) Foundation Sepp Herberger. Together with the national team player Jonathan Tah, they launched an aid programme to support members of the football family who are in need due to the Corona pandemic. People who are involved in the member associations of the German Football Association (DFB), its subdivisions and the German football clubs on a full-time or voluntary basis are eligible to receive help. 

The English national football team shows solidarity with the British health system NHS in times of the corona crisis. A part of the entry fees from a total of 16 international matches since the 2018 World Cup is donated to the NHS via the #PlayersTogether initiative.

Another initiative from football players is called Streetfootballworld. Juan Mata, a Manchester United midfielder, was one of the initiators of this ambitious project. The Streetfootballworld organisation aims to support social projects related to football. All participants, like Mats Hummels (Borussia Dortmund), Serge Gnabry (FC Bayern München), Alexander Esswein (Hertha BSC), Daniel Didavi (VfB Stuttgart), Jürgen Klopp (FC Liverpool), Giorgio Chiellini (Juventus Turin), Shinji Kagawa (Real Saragossa), Megan Rapinoe (Reign FC) agreed to donate one per cent of their salaries to the organisation. 

And what about Cristiano Ronaldo?

It seems that Ronaldo has a big heart as he donates very much and very gladly. When he and his club Real Madrid win the Champions League in 2016, he gave the prize money of  600,000 euros to the team’s doctors instead of claiming it for himself. Following earth disasters like the earthquake in Nepal in 2015, he donated 7 million euros to the aid organisation “Save the Children”. When in 2014, heavy rainfall destroyed the homes of over one hundred thousand people in Bosnia, Serbia and Croatia, Ronaldo released 6.5 million to help the victims. In times of Corona, the Portuguese superstar donated millions to two hospitals in Portugal to support the fight against the coronavirus pandemic. 

And what about the NBA?

Various NBA stars have already pledged six-figure sums to help staff their teams and in the arenas. The willingness to donate is generally higher in the US than in other parts of the world. The reason why is the different corporate and social culture in the US. The lack of a proper social benefits system is just one of the reasons why players, like Giannis Antetokounmpo (Milwaukee Bucks), Kevin Love (Cleveland Cavaliers), Blake Griffin (Detroit Pistons) and others decided to donate amounts around 100,000 dollars each immediately ofter Coronavirus hit the nation. The Frenchman Rudy Gobert, himself infected with Corona, even distributed 500,000 dollars to various organisations. Zion Williamson, from the ew Orleans Pelicans, announced that he would take over the salaries of all employees of the arena of the New Orleans Pelicans completely for 30 days.

Did someone say Tennis?

Let’s start with the sportsmen who have the highest income, the Swiss Roger Federer. Roger and his wife Mirka donated one million Swiss francs to the fight against the Covid-19. The money is supposed to support Swiss families who face financial hardship due to the consequences of the corona crisis. Besides, Roger supports different charity projects around the world, mainly through his own organisation, the Roger Federer Foundation. The main focus of his foundation is on educational projects located in Switzerland and the region of southern Africa. The programmes in Africa focus on the improvement of the quality of early learning and basic education. The projects in Switzerland aim to promote extra-curricular activities for children affected by poverty. Roger also supports other foundations like for example the Elton John AIDS Foundation or Small Steps Project.

Another generous tennis player is Serena Williams. In January 2020, following three years without winning a title and following her baby break, she won the WTA tournament in Auckland, New Zealand. Instead of keeping the prize money of 43,000 US dollars, she donated it to a relief fund for the victims of the devastating bush fires in Australia. In 2014 the tennis player launched Serena Ventures. The organisation invests in companies that embrace individual empowerment, diverse leadership,  opportunity and creativity. And of course, there are multiple other organisations that Serena supports, like UNICEF, Build African Schools, Hearts of God etc. 

Rafael Nadal has a big heart as well. Together with the basketball player Pau Gasol he initiated a crowdfunding campaign to collect donations for victims of the Corona pandemic at the end of March. Back then, the goal was to raise eleven million euros for the Red Cross. A few months later, the beginning of June, both revealed that the campaign raised more than 14 million euros. The money will be used to help more than one million victims of the pandemic in Spain, including those who are in need because of the economic impact of the crisis.

Of course there are many other sport professionals who are happy to share their wealth with the ones in need. If there are particular ones you would like us to look at, comment below.

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