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Fair Game

Masterchef hammers home urgent need to reboot football

Masterchef finalist, TV presenter and ex-footballer Dion Dublin becomes ambassador for Fair Game as Government develops review into football

Former Sheffield United and England international Brian Deane, and investigative reporter Adrian Goldberg also become Fair Game ambassadors

Finalist of Masterchef and host of Homes Under The Hammer Dion Dublin today became an ambassador for Fair Game, a group of value-driven football clubs hoping to change the way our national game is run.

The group of 27 clubs is backed by over 40 world-renowned experts and has been developing solutions to several of the problems football faces in football. Last week Fair Game outlined its final proposals in the 48-page document Putting Pride Back In The Shirt.

Central to the proposals is a Sustainability Index which looks at reallocating 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.

The timing coincides with the Government’s Football Governance Review being led by the Conservative MP Tracey Crouch. She is expected to publish her report at the end of next month.

Dion Dublin, who had an illustrious plating career with the likes of Norwich City, Manchester United, Coventry City, Aston Villa, Leicester City and Celtic, was capped four times by England and is now on the board of another one of his former clubs Cambridge United.

He said: “I was very fortunate to have a 22-year football career. I have experience in all the professional leagues and non-league football as well. Football is becoming increasingly unsustainable with clubs across the leagues spending more than they can afford. We need to change it and protect our unique football pyramid for our future generations. That’s why I am supporting Fair Game.”

Fair Game are also delighted to announce two further high-profile ambassadors: the Sheffield United and Leeds legend Brian Deane, and the acclaimed investigative reporter Adrian Goldberg.

Brian Deane, who also played for the likes of Doncaster Rovers, Middlesbrough, West Ham, Benfica, Sunderland and Leicester during a 21-year playing career, played three times for England and is now a regular TV pundit. He said: “I was privileged enough to play the game I love professionally. But it was only when I retired and started watching games that I truly realised how important our national Game is to our communities.

“Football can be a game changer. It brings people together. We need to ensure that the traditions and heritages of our clubs are protected. We need our clubs to be embedded in their communities and financially secure. Too many owners play Russian roulette with their club’s very existence. That has to end. And that is why I am delighted to become an ambassador for Fair Game.”

Adrian Goldberg, was the host of 5 Live Investigates for a decade and a columnist for the Birmingham Mail. He is currently the host of the Byline Times podcast and an avid West Bromwich Albion fan. He added: “As a long-time campaigner for football fans, I think Fair Game is a fantastic initiative aimed at creating a broad base of support for positive change in football. The professional game is nothing without the people who turn up on matchday and create the atmosphere, and it’s time our contribution was recognised. We all love the game and want to see it thrive.”

Niall Couper, the CEO of Fair Game, said: “We are deeply honoured that the Dion, Brian and Adrian have given their support to Fair Game. There is a real urgent need to grasp the opportunity Tracey Crouch’s review has given us.

“We believe we are building an unstoppable momentum. We want to ensure every fan can put on their shirt proud in everything it stands for and safe in their knowledge their club will be there for the long term.”

The 27 clubs of Fair Game are: Accrington Stanley, AFC Wimbledon, Altrincham, Basingstoke Town, Bath City, Bury AFC, Bristol Rovers, Cambridge United, Carlisle United, Chester FC, City of Liverpool, Curzon Ashton, Darlington, Dorking Wanderers, Ebbsfleet United, Gateshead, Grimsby Town, Leyton Orient, Lincoln City, Luton Town, Maidstone United, Newport County AFC, Rochdale AFC, Tonbridge Angels, Tranmere Rovers and Worcester City.