Premier League players have been praised for ‘playing their part’ after the announcement of the #PlayersTogether ‘initiative’ to contribute funds to the NHS amid the coronavirus crisis.
The collective initiative has partnered with NHS Charities Together (NHSCT) to distribute funds to ‘where it’s needed most’ during the COVID-19 crisis, with the scheme backed by the division’s leading stars having been initially suggested by Liverpool skipper, Jordan Henderson.
More than 150 Premier League players have taken to social media to post a statement detailing the scheme, announcing an intention to ‘make a real difference’ during a ‘critical time for our country’ – players having been criticised by some over the last week for a lack of collective action, with the PFA so far reluctant to agree to wage cuts for its members.
“Over the course of the last week we, as a group of Premier League players, have held numerous talks together with the vision of creating a contribution fund that can be used to distribute money to where it’s needed most in this COVID-19 crisis; helping those fighting for us on the NHS frontline as well as other key areas of need,” the statement reads.
“This is a critical time for our country and for our NHS, and we are determined to help in any way we can.
“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.
“NHSCT is the national umbrella organisation for over 150 registered NHS charities, working closely with the Charity Commission, Department of Health and Social Care, and NHS England to represent, champion and support the NHS’ official charities. NHSCT are the official charity of the NHS nationally.
“The contributions that this initiative will generate will help NHSCT quickly grant fund to the front line to support in a number of ways, including to help enhance the well-being of NHS staff, volunteers and patients impacted by COVID-19 as well as helping them in their work supporting many other critical areas of need both now and in the longer term.
— Jordan Henderson (@JHenderson) April 8, 2020
“#PlayersTogether is about we, as players, collaborating together to create a voluntary initiative, separate to any other club and league conversations, that can help get much-needed funds to those that need it right now.
“To try and help, along with so many others in the country, make a real difference.
“Our prayers and thoughts go out to everybody affected by this crisis. By sticking together, we will get through this.
“Stay home. Protect the NHS. Save lives. #PlayersTogether”
Last week, health secretary Matt Hancock singled out Premier League players to ‘play their part’, though following the announcement of the initiative, he took to Twitter to thank them for their ‘big-hearted’ contribution to the health service.
Warmly welcome this big-hearted decision from so many Premier League footballers to create #PlayersTogether to support NHS Charities. You are playing your part. pic.twitter.com/JGukLwRWJh
— Matt Hancock (@MattHancock) April 8, 2020
Meanwhile, Match of the Day presenter and former England international Gary Lineker also praised the players for taking action, saying they have been ‘unfairly targeted’ over the last week or so, while fellow BBC presenter Mark Chapman called the response ‘seriously impressive’.
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. 👏🏻👏🏻 pic.twitter.com/4HcvXjn7XB
— Gary Lineker (@GaryLineker) April 8, 2020
They’ve taken their time, theyve made sure they get it right they’ve coordinated something special and they care. Seriously impressive. #PlayersTogether
— Mark Chapman (@markchapman) April 8, 2020
According to the Guardian, alongside Henderson, the fund will be managed by Man Utd captain Harry Maguire, Watford’s Troy Deeney and West Ham’s Mark Noble.
Liverpool owners ‘shocked’ by public backlash at clubs furlough plans
See also – Five of the worst football ads ever: Owen, Rooney and Venkys chicken