Juventus brings Italy together to fight pandemic

Almost a year to the day since Italy’s first death due to coronavirus, Laureus World Sports Academy Member Alessandro Del Piero paid tribute to the contribution his former team Juventus have made to support Italian communities.
It’s easy to forget that Italy has only been a unified country for around 150 years, with each region particularly proud of its own traditions and communities.
Football clubs have become manifestations of those regional identities with fans passionate about their teams and what they represent – except for one – Juventus.
Italy’s most successful football club transcends regional loyalties with fans up and down the peninsula – and has taken on its national status to support those most affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Del Piero said: “Juventus has a unique role in Italian society because you see the shirts and flags wherever you go, so it is no surprise that my great club would provide so much support for both the local Piedmont region and Italy as a whole.
“The coronavirus crisis has been a huge challenge for Italy and for Italians.  Our culture is so deeply woven with interaction, socialising, chatting to people at the markets or in piazzas, taking our passegiata walks and talking to anyone and everyone – and of course also at the stadium.
“The pandemic and lockdowns have meant that those simple but fundamental pleasures have been suspended and that’s been very hard for us all.
Alessandro Del Piero played for Juventus for almost 20 years
“But it has also been a time when we have seen the best of Italy, of people working together and supporting each other to make the best of this challenging situation and supporting those less fortunate than ourselves.
“In Italy, each province has a very different culture and unity is very difficult, but people are united when it comes to football and sport in general.
“I spent almost 20 years with Juventus and when I joined the Laureus Academy in 2016, I already understood what it meant to be a high-profile athlete and how I could contribute to society.
“I have visited Laureus projects in Italy that support young people with disabilities and I am proud of the work Laureus and Juventus have done to focus our energies helping those most in need.”
Italy has been the hardest hit of all European countries by the coronavirus outbreak, which has put a particular strain on public health services and a struggling economy.
When the pandemic first started, Juventus donated more than three tonnes of leftover food to charity from their postponed Coppa Italia semi-final against Inter Milan to ensure it did not go to waste.
Juventus has been owned for almost a century by the Agnelli family, who founded iconic car brand FIAT and donated €10 million to help fight the pandemic in Italy.
Juventus owner Andrea Agnelli

They also helped to buy 150 ventilators and used their company connections to arrange for their transportation to Italy to help support those afflicted by the deadly virus as well as using their network to source other vital medical equipment.

The Agnelli’s vehicle company Leasys also provided the Italian Red Cross and ANPAS (the Italian National Association for Public Assistance) with vehicles to help distribute food and medicines to the sick, elderly and those in need across Italy.
The first-team squad also gave up almost €100 million in wages to help the club with no football taking place nor fans permitted to attend games.
The ‘Old Lady’ as Juventus is known, also launched a campaign called “Distant but United” (#DistantiMaUniti) which has so far raised almost half a million Euros to support community and health services in the Piedmont region of Italy.
Leonardo Bonucci stated: “Together with Juventus, I am participating in the donation to help the hospitals in Turin and Piedmont. Do it too, give your contribution: let's show that even from afar we are united!”
Star centre-back Daniele Rugani tested positive in March 2020 and used his platform to encourage responsible behaviour and support: “I urge everyone to respect the rules, because this virus makes no distinctions!
“Let's do it for ourselves, for our loved ones and for those around us.”
Daniele Rugani


Portugal superstar Cristiano Ronaldo and his agent Jorge Mendes donated €1 million to fund hospitals in his homeland.

Welsh international Aaron Ramsey also helped his home community, donating £10,000 twice to support local healthcare initiatives in Caerphilly.

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