BERLIN – While German national coach Joachim Loew made an urgent appeal to fans and the public to follow required rules to fight coronavirus, the German football association announced they were setting up an aid-program for struggling regional state associations.

The national team has donated 2.5 million euros to support health projects fighting the virus.

The team has set up a support home page “wirhelfen.eu” (we help).

Players like Manchester City midfielder Ilkay Guendogan, Bayern Munich’s Manuel Neuer and Joshua Kimmich, Real Madrid star Toni Kroos and Barcelona keeper Marc-Andre Ter Stegen all called for greater solidarity amongst footballers and fans in the country.

Neuer, Goretzka, and Kimmich all appeared in video-clips on social media channels. German team captain Neuer rang up all his teammates to get their approval.

Several squad members such as Moenchengladbach defender Matthias Ginter, Leipzig’s Lukas Klostermann, Freiburg’s Robin Koch and Luca Waldschmidt and Leverkusen’s Jonathan Tah announced their support for the project in video statements.

Loew and the national team’s managing director Oliver Bierhoff indicated they were prepared to accept salary cuts in order to make a contribution. “Both told me that were considering it without me asking,” said the association’s president Fritz Keller in a video-press-conference.

Keller announced the German association would have to face budget cuts due to the current crisis. Fans have to be aware that the national team are likely to have to play games behind closed doors.

“We might have to consider games without spectators to allow all fans to get back to enjoying matches involving the national team as soon as possible,” added the 62-year-old former president of the Bundesliga club SC Freiburg.

Federal laws and association rules don’t allow any help for struggling clubs, but joint projects will be implemented.

Football might have to face cuts in players’ salaries and transfer sums. Several club officials demanded that players agree to salary cuts.

The current battle is not only a challenge for society in general but also for football,” stressed Keller.

Besides staying at home, fans should care for family, friends, and neighbours, said Loew. “We have to prove we can overthink our daily procedures and obey rules,” the 60-year-old commented.

Loew said the world is experiencing a “collective burnout.” The German coach said it is time to reconsider humankind’s actions regarding nature. “We haven’t paid much attention to starvation and natural disasters. Now that all of us are affected, we realize what really matters in life,” Loew said in a touching speech.

Football has to step aside to a background role, he added.

He announced he would be continuing the generation change in the national team, “but forecasts can’t be made. We don’t know when we can start to play football again”.

Loew said he and Bierhoff are in close contact with all of the national team members and their clubs by phone. “I will call every single one of them to get to know his and his family’s situation,” the former striker emphasized.

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