Novak Djokovic, wife Jelena to make donation supporting Serbian hospitals

Tennis star Novak Djokovic and his wife, Jelena, announced on Friday they will donate €1 million — about $1.5 million CAD — to help support Serbian hospitals and medical institutions amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

After assessing where they could make the biggest impact, the Djokovic family determined money will go towards purchasing ventilators and medical equipment that are essential to providing adequate care to patients afflicted by the novel coronavirus.

“It’s not easy for anyone to come out with definite answers in public as information is changing daily from one moment to another,” Jelena said in an Instagram post. “The costs of medical equipment are fluctuating in high ranges, availability is low, the delivery takes time, transportation of the equipment is challenging, and learning how to use new equipment takes time and practice (which our dedicated doctors and nurses don’t have as patients numbers are surging).”

According to a database maintained by The New York Times, there were 457 confirmed COVID-19 cases in Serbia and one death as of Friday morning.

In response to the growing pandemic, which has strained health-care systems world wide and sickened over 536,100 people, the Novak Djokovic Foundation also announced the opening of a separate fund at the foundation, where anyone able to donate to this specific cause is able to.

Normally, the foundation focuses on helping create and enhance preschool education opportunities for Serbian children. Given the severity of the pandemic, the Djokovic family determined expanding the scope of what the foundation does was essential.

“What has become clear to us is that this situation is going to be a marathon, rather than a speed race,” Jelena, who is the foundation’s co-founder and global CEO, said. “And it would be good for us to rationally and strategically utilize both our strength and

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Barcelona FC to cut salaries during coronavirus stoppage

Barcelona’s Spanish defender Jordi Alba celebrates after scoring a disallowed goal during the Spanish league football match between FC Barcelona and Real Sociedad at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona on March 7, 2020. (Photo by LLUIS GENE / AFP)

BARCELONA, Spain — Barcelona will reduce the salaries of its players amid the coronavirus outbreak.

The Spanish club said late Thursday that its executive board decided to temporarily suspend player contracts, which leads to a “proportional reduction of the remuneration provided for in the respective contracts.”

The player contracts will remain intact during the suspension. Employers in Spain are allowed to reduce labor costs while guaranteeing that workers will return to their jobs once conditions improve.

The club said it had not decided by how much the salaries will be lowered.

Barcelona is the first Spanish league club to say it will reduce salaries.

In the 2018-19 season, Barcelona said player salaries for its sports teams accounted for 671 million euros ($727 million) of its 973 million euros ($1.05 billion) in expenses. Barcelona also fields teams in basketball, handball and other smaller sports, but its soccer squad takes up most of its salary costs.

The Spanish league stopped play two weeks ago because of the coronavirus outbreak.

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Amir Khan offers wedding venue to Britain’s health service amid pandemic

FILE – Amir Khan enters the ring against Terence Crawford before their WBO welterweight title fight at Madison Square Garden on April 20, 2019 in New York City. Al Bello/Getty Images/AFP

Former boxing world champion Amir Khan has become the latest sportsman to help in the fight against the coronavirus, offering his wedding venue for use by Britain’s National Health Service.

Khan is ready to hand over the keys to the 60,000-square-feet (5,600-square-metre) venue in his home town of Bolton as concerns grow over bed shortages.

The 33-year-old former world light-welterweight champion said in a post on his official Twitter account: “I am aware of how difficult it is for the public to get a hospital bed in this tragic time.

“I am prepared to give my 60,000 square foot 4 story building which is due to be a wedding hall and retail outlet to the @NHSuk to help people affected by the coronavirus. Pls keep safe.”

Premier League side Chelsea last week said they would provide free accommodation to NHS staff in a hotel at the club’s Stamford Bridge stadium.

Former Manchester United players Gary Neville and Ryan Giggs have given health workers free access to their hotels in Manchester.

Global sports stars Roger Federer, Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi have all made donations to help tackle the health crisis.

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For more information on COVID-19, call the DOH Hotline: (02) 86517800 local 1149/1150.

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