Former Dons defender John Scales is spearheading a new organisation looking to change the governance of football in the UK.
A few weeks ago the Dons Trust called on clubs from across England and Wales to unite and challenge the status quo. Since then, dozens of clubs have answered our call.
Cambridge United, Exeter City, Grimsby Town, Luton Town and Newport County are at the forefront – with another 20 clubs having expressed support – all seeking to find long-term solutions to the deep-rooted problems that threaten the game’s very survival.
“This is not a breakaway – but it’s absolutely a breakthrough," said John Scales.
"Fair Game can empower clubs to have a voice and force through the vital changes that are needed within the game."
The Fair Game ambassador continued: “We simply cannot afford to ignore the chaos that is strangling the life out of our beloved game anymore. It needs to be tackled at source, otherwise calamities like Bury and Macclesfield, for example, will become more and more common.
“Fair Game will tackle head-on the every-day issues that concern us all - such as responsible and appropriate salary levels, parachute payments and the game's entire financial structuring.
“We are calling on every club in the country to look at our website www.fairgameuk.org. Study what Fair Game stands for, join us and help re-shape the future of football.”
Click on the link below to listen to John’s appeal.
Among its many priorities, Fair Game will be pushing for independent audits of every football club, a much more vigorous fit and proper person's test - and greater supporter representation on football club boards.
Niall Couper, board member of Dons Trust, is the inaugural Director of Fair Game. He said: “When I joined the Board back in November I was given the remit of trying to see what we could do in the wider world to make a difference.
“I asked 30 or so experts in the field of football – from campaigners to academics – and without fail they all said address the governance of football in the UK.
“We are working hand-in-hand with the Football Supporters Association to develop a twin-pronged approach. The fans and the clubs calling for change.
“For us, the number of clubs backing us is rising every day. The momentum is growing. The more clubs that come on board the stronger we will become.”
Newport County chairman Gavin Foxall, Fair Game’s interim chair, added: “Our goals are simple. We want a sport that has integrity, sustainability, independent regulation and community at its heart.
“This, I believe, is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Time is of the essence as Tracey Crouch has announced a fan-led review to address governance of football in the UK.
“If we want to achieve our goals then we need to grasp this moment.”
Fair Game has already enrolled experts from law, government and accounting to provide heavyweight support. Among them is Christina Philippou, a member of the Football Collective, the UK’s leading group of football academics. The Portsmouth University lecturer added: “We've seen numerous governance reviews and reports conducted over the years, with strong recommendations but little to no change initiated. What appeals about Fair Game is the determination to develop realistic solutions and ensure they are implemented – and I am delighted to help them.”
Over the next few weeks Fair Game will be holding a series of workshops. Details of which can be found by visiting the Fair Game website.