Accrington Stanley joined 23 other teams at a prestigious launch in London today calling for a new direction for our national game.
The Reds are one of the founding members of Fair Game, a group of value-driven clubs, supported by 40 world-renowned experts and backed by politicians of all colours.
The Government is currently developing policies on how to change the national game as part of Tracey Crouch's football governance review. Fair Game's aim is to help develop the long-term realistic solutions needed.
The details of that vision are outlined in Fair Game's 48-page manifesto, Putting Pride Back In the Shirt: Fair Game's Solution for the National Game, which was launched today at Plough Lane, the home of AFC Wimbledon - one of the 24 clubs.
It details solutions to various problems within football, including the owners and directors test, financial sustainability, protecting the heritage of clubs, a fairer distribution of TV revenues, opposiing the European Super League, and tackling discrimination.
The document is the result of over six months of hard-work from Fair Game, and follows: ongoing consultation with the clubs, recruitment of global experts, brainstorms, four workshops, nine expert-led working groups, a 66-page options document, five surveys of clubs, and two open scrutiny sessions.
Stanley's Chairman, Andy Holt said: "As one of the smallest clubs in the EFL it is paramount that Accrington Stanley communicate to and listen to their supporters and between the two, build a community club for future generations to enjoy.
"Blowing huge amounts of money to win the 'golden ticket' to the Premier League is putting some clubs into a financial abyss without a thought of what they are doing to the heritage of their community football club.
"Now is an ideal opportunity for change and a chance for the football family to look after its own, right down the football pyramid.
"We want other football clubs to join Accrington Stanley as part of 'Fair Game' and to be part of the future changes to make football for everyone, not just the elite few."
Stanley's Managing Director, David Burgess added: "This really is a once in a lifetime opportunity to save the game we love and change the way football operates.
"The demise of the likes of Bury and Macclesfield Town, and the recently proposed European Super League are real wake-up calls.
"The EFL is run by the clubs and it is up to us to step forward and make that difference. But we can only succeed if we come together.
"It is time to put aside our rivalries and for clubs to work together and turn the game that we love into one that is sustainable.
"So today, we are calling on as many clubs to step forward and join us and plot a path that transforms the game and secures the longevity of our clubs and puts fans and the communities they serve first."
Among those backing the call is the Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham. He said "Fair Game's proposals are exactly what football needs. I'm only too aware of the dangers that exist. We've seen the collapse of Bury and the spectre of the ESL. Football is integral to our communities.
"The game needs a reboot. I back the need for an independent regulator, for an Owners and Directors Test that is fit for purpose, and most importantly the protection of the heritage and traditions of our clubs."
Niall Couper, the Chief Executive Officer of Fair Game, added: "Tracey Crouch's review represents a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to change football for the better. We have to grasp it and we believe our proposals lay that path.
"We want a sport where every fan can put their shirt on in the morning proud in what it stands for, safe in the knowledge that the traditions and heritage of their club will always be there."
To read Fair Game's 48-page manifesto, CLICK HERE!