A group of Premier League football players have joined forces to create an initiative called #PlayersTogether which aims to raise funds for NHS charities during the coronavirus pandemic.
Top-flight professionals have come under fire after some clubs placed non-playing staff on the Government’s furlough scheme, with Health Secretary Matt Hancock last week calling for Premier League players to take a pay cut.
England captain Harry Kane alongside Manchester United's Harry Maguire, Marcus Rashford, Watford's Troy Deeney, Liverpool's Virgil van Dijk and Jordan Henderson and Manchester City's Fernandinho are among those who have shared the statement on the new initiative.
Premier League clubs proposed wage cuts of around 30% to ease the financial burden caused by the crisis but talks over the weekend with the Professional Footballers’ Association and the League Managers Association failed to reach a resolution.
However, a statement posted by a number of Premier League players, including England captain Harry Kane, said: "We can confirm that after extensive conversations between a huge number of players from all Premier League clubs we have created our own collective player initiative, #PlayersTogether, and have partnered with NHS Charities Together (NHSCT) in order to assist them in generating and distributing funds quickly and efficiently to where they are needed most."
NHS Charities Together has thanked all the players supporting the initiative on social media.
Former Manchester United and England defender Gary Neville praised the move, tweeting: "The players have spoken. Well done to you all."
Former Leicester and England professional footballer Gary Lineker said he was proud of the players, tweeting: “Footballers are doing their bit as I was confident they would.
"Let’s hope that others that are in a position to help, those that weren’t unfairly targeted, do likewise. Proud of our players."