KENDAL Town Council has become the first Fair Game Council in England and Wales by voting to support reform of the way football is managed and run - and now it’s challenging others to follow its lead.

In a cross-party vote on a motion on Monday night proposed by South Lakeland District Councillor Chris Hogg, the council comprehensively endorsed the Fair Game manifesto, Solutions for our National Game.

Niall Couper, chief executive officer of Fair Game, said: “Kendal’s move will hopefully be the first of many. Where Kendal have led, we hope that others will now follow and echo the case for reform in Town halls throughout the country. It is the start of the journey for us at Fair Game and we want MPs, clubs and councils to join us.

“Football is in crisis in the UK. Covid has devastated the finances of so many lower league clubs, and left dozens on the brink of survival. It is time to reboot the game and Fair Game is bringing together ‘value-driven’ clubs and advocates for reform like Kendal Town Council to call for change. Together we believe we can make a difference and create a lasting legacy for our communities.”

Councillor Chris Hogg added: “Kendal has kicked off a debate that every town hall in this country should be having. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to safeguard and strengthen football clubs as civic and community assets and to avoid some of the disasters that have arisen from inadequate oversight and dubious decision making.”

Later this month, former sports minister Tracey Crouch MP is due to deliver her Government-commissioned fan-led review into the way football is currently governed.

In her preliminary findings, made public in July, Crouch said “ There is a strong case for a new independent regulator, and I have heard nothing in evidence that has dissuaded me from this view….Football clubs are not ordinary businesses.

"They play a critical social, civic, and cultural role in their local communities. They need to be protected.”

The 31 clubs of Fair Game are: Accrington Stanley, Altrincham, Ashford United, Basingstoke Town, Bath City, Bury AFC, Bristol Rovers, Cambridge United, Carlisle United, Chester FC, Chesterfield, City of Liverpool, Curzon Ashton, Darlington, Doncaster Rovers, Dorking Wanderers, Ebbsfleet United, Gateshead, Grimsby Town, Leyton Orient, Lincoln City, Luton Town, Maidstone United, Newport County AFC, Rochdale AFC, Salisbury, Shrewsbury Town, Tonbridge Angels, Tranmere Rovers, AFC Wimbledon and Worcester City as members.

Fair Game is working with a team of over 40 world-renowned experts to find long-term solutions to issues around the game, including protecting the heritage of clubs, a fairer distribution of TV revenues, opposing the European Super League, and tackling discrimination.

Central to the proposals is a Sustainability Index which looks at re-allocating the parachute payments to clubs throughout the football pyramid that can prove they are run well, respect equality standards and properly engage with their fans and their community.

Fair Game also believes fans should be given the final say on any proposed change to a club’s ‘crown jewels’, which includes the club’s name, nickname, colours, badge and the geographical location of where the club plays.