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CHELSEA have opened their Millennium Hotel at Stamford Bridge to NHS staff to help the medical response to the coronavirus outbreak.
Blues owner Roman Abramovich has pledged to cover the costs of accommodation for an initial two-month period, with the west London club prepared to give over the whole hotel if required.
The club said the accommodation would help “maintain the health and wellbeing of these crucial personnel at this critical time.”
“Chelsea Football Club is joining the medical response to the coronavirus outbreak in London with the news the NHS has accepted the club’s offer to make the Millennium Hotel at Stamford Bridge available for NHS staff,” the club said in a statement.
“The initiative came from club owner Roman Abramovich and, after contact with the NHS was made by chairman Bruce Buck, it was decided the best way Chelsea can assist the NHS is to provide accommodation for NHS staff. Mr Abramovich will be covering the costs of providing the accommodation.
“Many of the medical staff will be working long shifts and may not be able to travel home or would otherwise have to make long commutes. Local accommodation helps maintain the health and wellbeing of these crucial personnel at this critical time.”
Chelsea said they would extend the initiative if necessary.
The statement said: “This will be for a two-month period and then reconsidered in light of circumstances at the time. NHS staff will be those working in hospitals in the north-west London region, but that may extend to hospitals in other districts.
“The number of rooms utilised will depend on demand, but potentially all the rooms in the Millennium Hotel could be given over for this purpose. No staff showing symptoms will use the hotel.
“Millennium Hotels and Resorts, who manage the hotel, are supportive and assisting the club in providing this service to the NHS.”
Elsewhere, Crystal Palace have made assurances to staff over pay following the outbreak of coronavirus.
With the leagues shut down until at least April 3 and possibly for far longer, club finances have have been hit — non-league Barnet have already made 60 staff redundant.
Palace have pledged to support their employees, with chairman Steve Parish saying in a statement on the Eagles’ website that anyone affected by Covid-19 will still receive full pay instead of statutory sick pay.
Parish also said that match-day staff who have lost work due to the suspension of the Premier League will not go out of pocket.
Palace’s training ground in New Beckenham is on a one-week lockdown as a precautionary measure; players are staying at home with personalised training plans.
Scunthorpe chairman Peter Swann has called for support, clarity and some joined-up thinking to prevent Football League clubs going to the wall during the coronavirus crisis.
The Football League board met yesterday to discuss coronavirus’s impact, with League One and League Two clubs reportedly asking the league to address the £50 million black hole facing them.
Swann believes they could miss out on about £500,000 if, as he fears, the League Two season is not completed and is hoping for some answers.
“We’re now working on various ways we can sort of support ourselves and get through this,” he said.
“But I think until the EFL, the FA and the Premier League come up with something this week, we’re still a little bit up in the air on really how the football club finishes the season off.
“How does it finance itself? And how does it move on? And I think until they decide, I don’t know if there’s a lot we can do with it.
“I’ve seen in the press that there are so many different clubs and different ideas of how we should get through it — null and voiding it, finishing it. finishing it in a couple of months.
“It’s a very, very difficult situation and you have to weigh up people’s lives in it as well.
“We are secondary to making sure that people are safe and well, so I just hope they come up with something substantive this week that we can all work together on.”
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