Gary Neville shares petition for change in football that could impact Middlesbrough and Hartlepool United
Prominent names have today launched a campaign calling for independent regulation in English football in a move that could impact both Middlesbrough and Hartlepool United if successful.
Gary Neville Jamie Carragher, Gary Lineker, Micah Richards and Rio Ferdinand are among a group who say it is "time to act" to change football for the better.
The call for action came in an open letter signed by a number of former players and journalists, urging supporters to sign a parliamentary petition - which reached 10,000 signatures in the first 30 minutes - calling for an independent regulator in the English game by the end of the year.
At the time of writing at 12.15pm, the petition had already gained 48,495 signatures and is rising rapidly.
Indeed, the Government responds to all petitions that get more than 10,000 signatures and if the campaign reaches 100,000 signees, it will be considered for debate in Parliament.
The move has also received backing from fans groups from Liverpool, Manchester United, Arsenal, Chelsea, West Ham and Newcastle United as they campaign for a bigger influence in the running of football clubs.
"As football fans, we were appalled by the attempt to set up a European Super League," the letter read.
"It was a direct threat to the integrity of the game; destroying the concept of sporting merit and open competition.
"Supporters came together with one voice to oppose the cynical power-grab by a group of wealthy owners. The furious protests were heard and the breakaway fell apart.
"Now we must make sure this never happens again. Without swift and direct intervention, the return of a European Super League will be a constant threat.
"We welcome the fan-led Government review of the game and hope it leads to lasting change on an array of important concerns; including co-ordinated strategies to deal with racism, supporters' representation within clubs, LGBTQ issues, ticket costs and the distribution of income. All of those aims can be realised if we take decisive action now."
The group highlighted last month's European Super League breakaway attempt as evidence of the need for reform of the game's governance.
The foundation of the Super League prompted the UK Government to bring forward a fan-led review, which will be led by former sports minister Tracey Crouch and will assess the need for an independent regulator.
The open letter - also signed by Laura Woods, Jamie Redknapp and Henry Winter - also calls for government legislation to block any club attempting to leave the football pyramid.
In a video on Twitter, Neville said: "There is one big opportunity now in this next few months to influence the outcome of English football and create a fairer game for all.
"A fan-led review has been announced by the government. I urge you, if you hated me as a player, if you dislike me as a pundit, just to listen to me this one time and sign this petition which will bring independent regulation and transparency at the top of the game we all love."