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Eurosport to show ‘Rally for Relief’ as sport’s response to bushfires builds

A CFA Member works on controlled back burns along Putty Road on November 14, 2019 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Brett Hemmings/Getty Images)

Eurosport is providing broadcast coverage in Europe of Tennis Australia’s Rally for Relief charity exhibition match on January 15 in aid of the Australian bushfire relief effort. It is one of a host of recent moves by the sports world in support of the cause.

In a press release, Eurosport said Rally for Relief will feature the world’s top players, playing at the Rod Laver Court in Melbourne, and proceeds from the event will go to the Victorian Bushfire Appeal. The broadcaster will screen the event across Europe on the Eurosport 1 pay-television channel and OTT platform Eurosport Player, from 8am GMT.

Andrew Georgiou, president, Eurosport and global sport rights, said: “We are all deeply saddened by the devastating events that have been unfolding in Australia. Naturally, our thoughts and prayers are with everyone that has been affected by the bushfires and with those fire fighters whose commitment to fight the fire can only be described as super-human.

“At Discovery and Eurosport, we are only too happy to support Tennis Australia’s activity where we can, whether that be through the screening of the brilliant Rally for Relief event or via promoting #Aces4BushFireRelief fund raising initiative across Europe.”

Rally for Relief is part of Tennis Australia’s broader Aces for Bushfire Relief programme. Eurosport is also supporting this by pledging money for every ace hit during the Australian Open, and providing Europe-wide promotion for the programme.

Among the other sports responses to the bushfires, an auction of Australian cricketer Shane Warne’s “baggy green” national team cap raised more than A$1m ($686,000) last Friday. Cricket Australia sponsor the Commonwealth Bank of Australia was the buyer, and pledged to take the cap on a nationwide tour to raise more money.

The famous caps are presented to Australian players on their national team debuts. Reuters reported that the auction beat a previous record of A$425,000 set in 2003 by the cap of legendary Australian cricketer Don Bradman.

Warne and fellow former Australian cricketer Ricky Ponting are reported by The Guardian newspaper to be planning a star-studded charity, bushfire relief match as a curtain-raiser to the Big Bash League final on February 8.

The International Tennis Federation and three of tennis’s grand slam tournaments – Wimbledon, the US Open and the French Open – are together donating $400,000 to the Australian Red Cross’s bushfire relief efforts.

Reuters reported that Formula 1 driver Lewis Hamilton is donating $500,000 towards the rescue and care of wildlife caught in the fires. Australian national team football goalkeeper Mat Ryan, a player for English Premier League team Brighton and Hove Albion, donated A$500 for every save he made at the weekend to the same cause. ATP tennis players have made a A$700,000 to the WWF’s Australian Wildlife and Nature Recovery Fund.

Australian players in the NBA, Australian tennis players Ashleigh Barty and Nick Kyrgios, Australia’s cricket team, and many more athletes from around the world have also pledged money to the bushfire relief effort.