Of course it helps having a multi-billionaire owner, but Chelsea have gone above and beyond in looking after staff, players and the community during the current crisis. No furloughs, no lay-offs, no using government aid to pay the wages. In fact, Chelsea has gone further than any other football club. It is even paying its
Of course it helps having a multi-billionaire owner, but Chelsea have gone above and beyond in looking after staff, players and the community during the current crisis.
No furloughs, no lay-offs, no using government aid to pay the wages. In fact, Chelsea has gone further than any other football club.
It is even paying its regular matchday stewards for NOT turning up! And it has pledged to keep paying them as if they were keeping order right through to mid-summer.
The players are being paid, the juniors are being paid, the groundsmen are being paid, the unseen backroom staff are on full pay, even the man with a sniffer dog who sticks his wet nose into bags on the way in to Stamford Bridge (this is the dog, you understand, not the man) is being paid.
And fans who are understandably vexed by a) the lack of football and b) the fact that they’ve paid for it… yes, even they are being credited with pro-rata payments, depending on how many games have to be scrapped.
As if that isn’t generous enough, any fan who paid for flights and tickets and hotels to get to Munich to watch the Champions League game which was never played will get their money back. And that applies whether they went through the club, or booked it themselves.
Abandonment of the second leg of the Bayern Munich game has, mind you, been the only good thing to come out of the Covid-19 crisis, from the Blues’ perspective. In the first leg, on February 25 at the Bridge – a time that feels so, so long ago – Chelsea lost 3-0; eclipsed, outclassed and run ragged.
The return leg in Germany was likely to have been further humiliation. But now we’ll never know. Now fans can say to themselves: ‘Who knows? It might have turned out alright.’
Back at the Bridge the club has made 128 rooms freely available to NHS staff in the stadium hotel complexes, and the kitchens at the club have been churning out meals – 81,000 of them so far – for charities and NHS workers. Meanwhile at-risk and elderly Chelsea fans, and parents of disabled fans, are being supported too.
Even the club’s medics have been diverted to assist hospital staff as they work to overcome coronavirus.
Locked-down players have been giving online lessons to children, and the club has been running virtual soccer schools, so youngsters can practise in their back gardens as if they were being coached.
If there’s any good that can come from the current crisis, it’s the way that communities have pulled together. And Chelsea, to their enormous credit, are leading the way.