CNN  — 

English Premier League soccer players have launched a collective initiative to generate and distribute funds to the British National Health Service during the coronavirus pandemic.

Launched on Wednesday, #PlayersTogether will set about helping those fighting on the frontline of the UK outbreak and has partnered with the NHS Charities Together organization to identify key areas where funding is needed most.

“This is a critical time for our country and for our NHS, and we are determined to help in any way that we can,” read a statement shared by a host of Premier League players on social media.

“The contributions that this initiative will generate will help NHSCT quickly grant funds 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.

The level of contributions to be made has yet to be revealed but the announcement comes amid growing pressure for players to play their part in the relief effort.

Some – including UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock – had urged Premier League players to take pay cuts during the crisis.

Hancock tweeted Wednesday that the “big-hearted decision” was “warmly” welcomed.

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02:46 - Source: CNN
UK health secretary tells Premier League footballers to 'take a pay cut'

The Premier League had previously said it planned to start a consultation exercise with top-flight players about a possible 30% pay cut.

‘Getting money to the right place’

However, the new voluntary initiative will be “separate to any other club and league conversations, to help get much needed funds to those that need it right now,” the players’ statement said.

Manchester United striker Marcus Rashford, who has recently helped feed thousands of children with free school meals, said players wanted to take their time in order to make the right decision.

“We want to help in the best way possible and getting money to the right places is a massive thing,” he told BT Sport on Wednesday.

“It took a lot of time, a lot of conversations.”

There are at least 60,733 confirmed cases of Covid-19 in the UK with 7,097 deaths, according to the latest figures.