QPR manager Mark Warburton says Premier League teams should cut player wages by 50% during the coronavirus crisis to help the NHS and smaller clubs.
Warburton, a former financial trader, believes reducing top-flight wages by half until September would raise half a billion pounds.
"I think we could do so much right now and make a positive statement," he told BBC Radio 5 Live.
"That goodwill would last in football for decades."
Tottenham Hotspur, Newcastle United and Norwich City are among clubs criticised for using the government furlough scheme to temporarily lay-off non-playing staff, while their players remain on full wages.
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Warburton said: "I'm hearing clubs are on £60,000 or £70,000 as an average wage, that's an £80m or £90m wage bill.
"If you said for the next five months we start again on 1 September you're talking about half a billion pounds plus raised by the Premier League clubs just on a 50% wage cut.
"I'm not trying to upset Premier League players or staff here, but half a billion pounds might see x amount save the football pyramid and it might see a quarter of a billion pounds go to frontline NHS staff, who are obviously the heroes right now."
Former Brentford, Rangers and Nottingham Forest manager Warburton has taken a voluntary pay cut, while his players have been in discussions with club executives about their situation going forward.
Around Europe, major clubs including Juventus, Barcelona and Bayern Munich have seen their players take wage cuts because of the pandemic.
And Warburton thinks a big gesture is also needed from top-flight English clubs.
"I think football's got to be pro-active and the Premier League is the best brand of football in the world bar none and it can make such a statement here," the 57-year-old said.
"So much good work is done that goes unnoticed, but we've got to make sure right now football responds in the right way.
"I can't have a guy on £100,000 a week, taking a 10% pay cut, I think the average man in the street will still be morally damaged by that.
"We've got a responsibility to go out and say if it is a 50% pay cut, for five months, and the game resumes on 1 September, what a statement.
"Then how do they use that money - be it the NHS, supporting the pyramid or contingency funding."