Schumacher donates $10m relief aid
LONDON, England -- Seven-time world Formula One champion Michael Schumacher has donated $10 million to the victims of last week's Asian tsunamis, his manager Willi Weber said during a German telethon on Tuesday.
The German legend will be working with his country's Foreign Ministry over the next few days to determine where the money will go, Weber added.
"The dawning of the New Year has not been as joyful for us this year because of the catastrophe in Asia. We sympathise with the victims in their grief," Schumacher said.
The International Olympic Committee has joined a long line of sporting organizations to donate cash to the tsunami relief effort, with further events planned around the world to boost fundraising.
Cricket's response has been especially swift after cricket-mad countries India and Sri Lanka were badly affected by the deadly waves.
Teams including Australia, South Africa and England have all donated.
The IOC has pledged $1 million to aid victims of the disaster, which was triggered by an earthquake in the Indian Ocean on December 26, killing at least 150,000 and leaving millions without adequate food or shelter.
Sri Lanka's tour of New Zealand was curtailed so the players could fly home to injured relatives and help the relief effort while the International Cricket Council (ICC) has organized two fundraising matches to raise money.
An Asian XI will face a World XI in Melbourne on January 10 in the first of the games and leading players such as Australia leg spinner Shane Warne and West Indies captain Brian Lara have already signed up.
Many of Europe's top football nations and teams idolized by millions of fans around the Indian Ocean, have also given generously.
Germany's national team will take on an all-star Bundesliga international side on January 25 to raise money for the relief effort.
The charity game will take place at the 60,000-capacity Arena AufSchalke in Gelsenkirchen, the venue for last season's Champions League final.
Bayern Munich are to give 300,000 euros ($410,000) immediately to help victims and the German football authorities -- DFB and DFL -- are to donate 1.5 million euros.
"Football is under an obligation to help," said German football association vice-president Werner Hackmann on Tuesday.
And Bayern's commercial manager Uli Hoeness said: "We want an active role, and we'll remain involved as the years roll by. We will finance the project for the next 15 to 20 years."
The English Premier League has pledged one million pounds ($1.9 million) with clubs such as Manchester United, Arsenal and Chelsea contributing at least 50,000 pounds each.
Spanish champions Valencia have offered their stadium to host a fundraising match where they will join forces with city rivals Levante to face an XI made up from other Spanish clubs.
Serie A club Inter Milan raised 27,000 euros through a friendly with northern Italian side AC Pro Sesto and plan to auction off the players' shirts.
Former France midfielder David Ginola was on holiday with his children in the Maldives and was having breakfast with his son when the wave hit his hotel.
"An event like this makes you see life from another perspective," Ginola told French television.
Ginola has long been part of a world campaign against landmines and fears the tsunami could have unearthed more mines.
The Paris 2012 Corporate Club, a group of 14 major international French companies supporting the city's bid to host the 2012 Olympics, has donated 200,000 euros to charities.
German tennis player Nicolas Kiefer has found a novel way to raise money, saying he will donate $100 for every ace he serves in his next three tournaments while he plans an exhibition match with top Thai player Paradorn Srichaphan in the badly affected Thai resort of Phuket.
Russia's Wimbledon tennis champion Maria Sharapova gave $10,000 to Thailand's Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra while she was in Bangkok last week for an exhibition match.
The ATP, the governing body of the men's professional tennis, has joined the relief effort with a series of activities during this week's Chennai Open, which is taking place close to the Indian coast hit by the tsunami.
In the United States, NFL and NBA teams collected large sums from fans at games over the weekend and the International Rugby Board (IRB) has made a donation to U.N. World Food Programme.