England striker Callum Wilson and Arsenal defender Hector Bellerin are among a group of Premier League players to launch the #FootballUnited initiative, which aims to raise money for local communities impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.
Manchester United full-back Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Chelsea defender Reece James and Crystal Palace winger Andros Townsend have also signed up to the campaign, which has a target of at least £100,000.
The proceeds will be collected by the National Emergencies Trust, with the money used to support elderly and vulnerable people affected by Covid-19, which has brought football on the pitch to a halt.
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The campaign is being coordinated by Unique Sports Management, and a joint statement on behalf of the players involved read: “Football has such a big role to play in communities and our clubs are a huge part of people’s lives.
“Without football, we want to put our rivalries aside and show togetherness at such a critical moment for the country.
“These are uncertain times for communities, but as players we want to show some recognition for the incredible work that is being done for the most vulnerable.
“There are so many people at home who are afraid, alone and without full-time care.
“With the nation’s help, we can show our support to the many volunteers and organisations who need funds to make sure vital food and medicine supplies will continue to be delivered during the crisis.
“As players we would love nothing more than to be out there playing in front of packed stadiums again, but that can wait – the most important thing right now is the future of the country and #FootballUnited is our way of showing some community spirit.”
Chelsea manager Frank Lampard, meanwhile, has donated £10,000 to the Help Them Help Us appeal fund, which is looking into coronavirus research, setting up a 24/7 national psychological support service as well as ways to boost personal protective equipment for National Health Service workers during the pandemic.