Laureus Ambassador Fabio Capello urges footballers to support local communities in fight against Cov

BY FABIO CAPELLO, Laureus Ambassador
In our world where we are used to human problems, even tragedies like terrorism, air crashes and natural disasters, I don’t think anyone could have believed this pandemic was going to happen.
What is so frustrating is that we cannot see this enemy. It is there, it is attacking us, but we can only fight back in an indirect way.
For 54 years I played football and was a football manager. In that world I have had a widespread experience of life, of joy, happiness and sadness, but nothing can prepare you for the shock of coronavirus.
Illness, and the fear of worse, is changing our lives. My own country of Italy has been so badly affected, it makes me very sad. And of course I was manager of Real Madrid, and Spain has also been a big victim. England as well. I am very close to these countries and to the people of Russia, where I was also manager.
We all need to be united at this time and it is important for a big influential sport like football to show a good example. I was delighted to see that one of my clubs, AS Roma, who I played for and was manager of, has been delivering ‘Roma Cares’ food packages to its older and most at risk supporters.
Laureus Academy Member Alessandro Del Piero is raising funds for the Italian Red Cross and is planning to bring together the 2006 Italy World Cup winning team to play in a fundraiser.
Another Academy Member Ryan Giggs, the manager of Wales, has offered rooms in hotels he owns in Manchester for use by health workers.
These are very good and imaginative examples of how football individuals and teams can do good and show that sport cares. But is football doing enough?
There has been a big debate in many countries about whether footballers should agree to take pay cuts at this time. I am not sure about pay cuts, as that involves the clubs, but I do believe that top professional footballers, who earn so much money today, should realise how lucky they are and give support to people in their local communities at this terrible time – and this isn’t just about money; it’s about giving time, the benefit of their status and celebrity and being active members of society.
It is the local communities which keep football teams alive and pay television subscriptions which have made the sport so profitable and the players so wealthy.
‘Roma Cares’ packages show that a very little can go a long way. Giving money to local charities or to help support health workers can make a difference. Acts of kindness around the world are helping people to adapt to the new world they are living in.
For 20 years, Laureus Sport for Good has been committed to bringing people together and building bridges between communities and individuals. Today there is more need for this than ever as the nations of the world co-operate to beat coronavirus.
As a Laureus Ambassador, I know that everyone in the Laureus Family promises to keep working for this goal as long as it is safe and we are able to do so.

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