Great Britain

Coronavirus: Lord’s, Wembley, Tottenham open doors to help

A general view of Lord's Cricket Ground

A general view of Lord's Cricket Ground

PA Wire/PA Images

A number of top sporting venues are offering their facilities to the NHS and local authorities during the coronavirus pandemic.

A general view of Wembley StadiumA general view of Wembley Stadium

Lord’s, Wembley, Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, Silverstone, Wimbledon and Twickenham are among the high-profile venues to open their doors as the country tackles a public health crisis.

Lord’s, due to host a Test match between England and West Indies at the end of June, has already made its facilities available to the NHS, the MCC has said.

They have given 75 car parking spaces for NHS staff at the nearby Wellington Hospital, University College Hospital, and the Hospital of St John and St Elizabeth.

They said in a statement released to the PA news agency: “In light of the current situation regarding the outbreak of Covid-19, Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) has been in continued dialogue with Westminster City Council as to how the club can utilise elements of Lord’s Cricket Ground for the good of the community.

A general view of the Tottenham Hotspur StadiumA general view of the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium

“We are mindful of our responsibility as a sporting institution and as a member of the local community to play our part.

“The close proximity of a number of hospitals to Lord’s gives the club the opportunity to assist medical staff so they can concentrate on their ongoing battle against the virus.

“MCC has currently provided 75 parking spaces at Lord’s for staff at Wellington Hospital, University College Hospital, and the Hospital of St John and St Elizabeth. We are also providing storage areas for the Wellington Hospital – which is situated very close to the Ground.

“MCC has provided food to City Harvest London, who help put fresh surplus food to good use in a sustainable way, redistributing to organisations that feed the hungry.

“We are continuing to work closely with our local community, hospitals and organisations to offer support as best we can during this period.”

The Football Association are also keen to help and are ready to discuss logistics with the relevant authorities.

Wembley was set for a busy summer of football with six games of Euro 2020 due to be held there, but it is now free after the tournament was postponed earlier this month.

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Premier League club Tottenham have allowed their stadium to be used to support vulnerable individuals affected.

Spurs, whose 62,000-seater stadium is widely regarded as the best in the world, have held discussions with Haringey Council, the Greater London Authority and the NHS about making use of their arena.

Chairman Daniel Levy said: “As a club, we have always been clear about our commitment to the wider community - never has this been more important than it is now.

“We are immensely proud of the efforts of everybody involved in the fight against COVID-19 and see today as just the start of what we can do as a club to assist.”

The first step has seen the car park, built under the stadium, used as a storage base for food.

The All England Club, who are holding an emergency board meeting on Wednesday where they are expected to cancel this year’s Wimbledon, has offered their facilities and medical equipment to the NHS, but as of Monday have not had any requests.

The PA news agency understands that if they are approached a facility could be set up on the golf course adjacent to the club, rather than on the grounds itself.

If Wimbledon does get called off, as expected, it will mean tennis fans face the prospect of a first year without the tournament since 1945.

The fate of the British Grand Prix, due to take place a week after Wimbledon is scheduled to finish on July 19, is also set to be decided this week.

In the meantime, Silverstone is in dialogue with the local authorities and has made their facilities available.

In a statement released to the PA news agency, they said: “Silverstone are in early discussions with the relevant local authorities and are willing to make their facilities available to them should they be required. Nothing has been confirmed to date.”

With no rugby on the agenda, both Twickenham and the Marriott hotel, which is attached to the south stand, have been offered by the RFU and discussions are ongoing.

Alexandra Palace, which hosts the PDC World Darts Championship and the Masters snooker tournament, is also being used a food hub by Haringey Council.

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