Sport Relief 2020 opens with coronavirus appeal from Gary Lineker

Justin Harp
Photo credit: BBC

From Digital Spy

Gary Lineker has opened Sport Relief with a powerful message about the on-going coronavirus pandemic.

The bi-annual BBC fundraiser has gone ahead as planned on Friday (March 13) with a live studio audience in Salford at the same time as concerns about the spread of coronavirus grow across the world.

Match of the Day presenter Gary opened up the charity appeal by addressing the pandemic head-on – revealing that proceeds from the night would go to help those impacted by the virus.

"I've been fortunate to present this show since its inception back in 2002, never though under the circumstances of this year, this month, this week," he admitted.

Photo credit: BBC

The sporting legend forged on: "These are extraordinary and unprecedented times. Never have the vulnerable been more vulnerable than they are now. Never have we needed the help of Sport Relief more than we do now.

"We're already making sure that a chunk of what we raise will help those affected by the coronavirus… Also, rarely, I suspect, have we needed more light relief than we do tonight."

Co-host Paddy McGuinness then spoke to the studio audience about attending Sport Relief in spite of the self-isolation fears that are currently gripping the globe.

"A massive thank you to you lot for coming out tonight," Paddy said to a huge cheer.

Photo credit: BBC

This year's Sport Relief includes a Line of Duty mini-episode featuring Harry Potter star Jason Isaacs and comedian Lee Mack, as well as a one-off Stranger Things charity special with the cast.

To donate to Sport Relief, text BEAT to 70210 to donate £10 or text BEAT to 70220 to make a £20 donation. You can also make your donation by visiting the Sport Relief website — where you can also find all the terms.

If you need support regarding coronavirus, you can read the World Health Organisation's guidelines for proactive protection. If you're in the UK, the National Health Service can also provide useful information and support, while US users can contact the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

Advisories on public health can also be found here.

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