Daily Briefing

Today’s back pages: football unites against virus as Gary Neville and Roman Abramovich hand hotels over to NHS staff

A round-up of the sport headlines from UK newspapers on 19 March

Hotels of hope

The Daily Express and the Independent report that Chelsea have offered their Millennium Hotel at Stamford Bridge to NHS staff as they battle coronavirus. 

The offer - suggested by owner Roman Abramovich - has been accepted and the costs will be met by the Blues’s Russian owner. 

“This will be for a two-month period, and then reconsidered in light of circumstances at the time,” Chelsea said in a statement. “NHS staff will be those working in hospitals in the North-West London region, but that may extend to hospitals in other districts.”

The Daily Mirror, under the headline “Football United”, says a similar initiative has been taken by former Manchester United defender Gary Neville.

Sky Sports pundit Neville and former United team-mates Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes, Nicky Butt and brother Phil Neville co-own the Stock Exchange Hotel in Manchester city centre and Hotel Football at Old Trafford. 

“It is something we are delighted to have been able to come to an agreement with,” said Neville.

“It is at this moment in time that the whole of our industry needs to show solidarity, not just for our staff in these uncertain times, but for the people who need the accommodation most in the coming months.”

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Cricket cancelled?

The photo on the back page of The Guardian is of veteran England pace bowler Jimmy Anderson above the headline: “We might not bowl a ball this summer”. 

England’s tour to Sri Lanka was abandoned last week and today cricket chiefs meet to plan the way forward. 

“Cricket and sport is not the be all and end all but it is my livelihood, it’s all I know,” said the 37-year-old Anderson. “There’s a chance we might not even bowl a ball this summer.”

The 2020 County Championship is scheduled to begin on 12 April, while England’s three-Test series against the West Indies starts on 4 June. 

According to BBC Sport the England and Wales Cricket Board will examine all options, “including postponements and playing games behind closed doors”.

Hey Jude

In a sign that football will one day return to normal, the Daily Star leads on its back page with a claim that Manchester United are ready to table a £30m bid “to beat off rivals” for the hand of Jude Bellingham. 

The 16-year-old wonderkid has been in blistering form for Birmingham City and the Star says that United are “obsessed with coming out on top in the race for him”. 

Apparently Borussia Dortmund, Chelsea and Bayern Munich are also “keen” on the teenage sensation but United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is determined to bring the youngster to Old Trafford.

Today’s sport headlines

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