Thursday 26 March 2020 06:22, UK
Premier League stars including Arsenal's Hector Bellerin and Manchester United's Aaron Wan-Bissaka have launched #FootballUnited - a new initiative with the aim of raising £100,000 to help local communities through the coronavirus pandemic.
Bellerin and Wan-Bissaka are joined by Chelsea's Reece James, Crystal Palace winger Andros Townsend, and England striker Callum Wilson in pledging their support.
Proceeds donated to #FootballUnited will be collected by the National Emergencies Trust and used to support elderly and vulnerable people affected by COVID-19.
The players already driving forward this campaign want fellow professionals across the nation to follow suit and show their support for #FootballUnited.
With players tagging social media campaign posts with the words #FootballUnited, it is hoped fellow team-mates and football figures will lend their support and drive donations to help communities across the UK recover from the impact of the pandemic.
The campaign is being co-ordinated by Unique Sports Management (USM), after the idea was raised by several of its clients. USM kicked things off themselves with a £10,000 donation.
A joint statement on behalf of the players said: "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."
Marlon Fleischman, managing director at USM, said: "At such an unprecedented time, we are proud to support our players striving to make positive change through #FootballUnited.
"Now is the time for the football community to show solidarity and work together to help those who need urgent help, resources and care.
"Working alongside the National Emergencies Trust, we hope that the #FootballUnited campaign will generate vital funds to reach those local communities and charities at the time when they need it most".