Coronavirus: Crystal Palace star Wilfried Zaha offers free accommodation and urges NHS staff to 'reach out'

'If you do good, good will come to you'

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Crystal Palace forward Wilfried Zaha has become the latest footballer to help in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic by offering free accommodation to medical staff at his London properties.

The offer from the Ivory Coast international, 27, follows on the heels of similar gestures made by Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich and former Manchester United captain Gary Neville.

Zaha said he had friends working in the National Health Service (NHS) and he could provide accommodation for the hard-pressed staff who could not return home after their shifts as the UK, and in particular London, struggles to stem the spread of the Covid-19 virus.

The former Manchester United player has built up a portfolio of around 50 properties in London, including in trendy Notting Hill, according to reports. The flats are usually used by corporate clients but with global travel severely restricted there is not much call for them at the moment.

"If you do good, good will come to you," said Zaha cited in The Times on Saturday. "It is clear that my intentions are that all I want to do is help at every opportunity, especially in the crazy period we are going through.

"Health workers please reach out. We have already had feedback - this is exactly what we wanted to achieve."

His business partner Obi Williams said they had already been contacted by staff at two London hospitals.

"Anyone who can help and do their bit needs to stand up and help," said Williams.

Neville, now a TV pundit, has offered free use of 176 rooms in two Manchester hotels he co-owns - including one opposite Old Trafford Stadium - and has called on footballers to follow his lead, while Russian tycoon Abramovich has invited medical staff to 72 rooms in the hotel at Chelsea's Stamford Bridge ground.

The British government on Friday ordered all pubs, cafes and restaurants to close to restrict the spread of coronavirus.

On Saturday, Manchester City and United announced they are joiningd forces to donate £100,000 (Dh428,000) to support the city's food banks amid the coronavirus crisis.