Mayor Asks London's Football Clubs to Help the NHS

Wants them to loan medical staff, facilities and vehicles to hospitals

Mayor Asks Londonís Football Clubs to Help the NHS

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Sadiq Khan has written to every Premier League and Championship football club in London, asking them to help the NHS during the coronavirus outbreak.

The Mayor wants clubs – which have suspended games amid the Covid-19 threat – to offer medical staff, stadium facilities and club accommodation to the NHS.

Football teams have their own doctors to treat player injuries, and their stadiums have medical facilities and some vehicles.

And the Mayor said football clubs and others in the capital should now help the fight against the virus.

Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Today this morning, he said: “We’ve got these massive resources which currently aren’t being used.

“My ask not just of football clubs but anyone across London who’s got either personnel, staff or facilities we can use, please please please step up.

“Now is the time, during this hour of need, when we need your help.”

In his letter to teams, he said: “I do not take such requests lightly and I appreciate this is a big ask in what is a challenging and uncertain time for many of London’s football clubs.

“However, I am clear that we all need to unite and do what we can to support the NHS and protect the lives of Londoners.”

Clubs may also have accommodation for players or hotels for fans close to their grounds.

The Mayor’s letter was sent to Arsenal, Chelsea, Crystal Palace, West Ham, Fulham, Charlton Athletic, Queens Park Rangers, Brentford and Millwall.

Tottenham Hotspur has already offered its stadium facilities to the fight against the virus – its basement car park will be a depot for food deliveries to vulnerable people who are self-isolating.

Arsenal has now offered its cars, Crystal Palace will give the local NHS trust access to its stadium, and Chelsea will accommodate hospital staff at its hotel.

And more medical staff will arrive in London this week to work at the newly constructed NHS Nightingale hospital at the ExCel Centre in Newham.

The first 500 beds in the 4,000 bed hospital are now ready, with patients expected to arrive in the coming days.

Mr Khan told the Today programme he was “awe-struck” by the “breath-taking” facilities at the new hospital.

The Mayor took a one and a half hour virtual tour of NHS Nightingale yesterday – like most politicians, he is working from home where possible.

He said: “It’s obviously scary the sheer scale of the new hospital but it is incredibly impressive.

“I’d make this point: if this was a hospital built in another part of the world we’d be saying how amazing they are, and this has been built in London.”

Jessie Matthewson - Local Democracy Reporter


April 2, 2020