Coronavirus: Milan chief says Italian clubs must prove their value during crisis

Italian football is suspended during the coronavirus crisis, but Milan chief Ivan Gazidis says clubs must not forget their important role.

Milan CEO Ivan Gazidis   -  Getty Images

Milan chief executive Ivan Gazidis has said Italian football must show compassion through the coronavirus pandemic before restoring "hope and joy" when normal life returns.

Italy has suffered more deaths than any other country, with over 15,000 lives lost so far and close to 130,000 confirmed cases.

Sport in the country is on hold, as part of the lockdown enforcement, and football might not resume for many months to come.

Gazidis addressed Milan supporters from his home on Sunday, speaking of "this tragedy that has hit all of us" and praising doctors and nurses, police, public transport officials and supermarket workers who risk exposure.

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Gazidis said Milan's players and staff would only return to work "once things are safe", and noted club officials were working to "provide meaningful assistance" to the community.

He expressed the hope Milan could become "stronger than ever" after the COVID-19 global disaster, also promising the Rossoneri would "not forget the heroes of these times" when sport resumes.

Gazidis said Milan would, as a club, recover "in a healthy and strong way and we will do so on solid foundations".

"Football is a source of joy, which is very important," he said. "We will do our part in rebuilding hope and joy, the pride and solidarity when we overcome this terrible moment.

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"Clubs are not just companies that play football, they have a role in the community and represent values without which football would be nothing.

"We will be remembered for how we behave in these days, we want you to feel that AC Milan is beside you, we want to make you proud."

He added: "Let us stay united in these difficult moments and we will be an even more tightly knit team, once we've overcome this crisis. More human, more united, stronger than ever."

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