Carlisle politician Helen Grant has joined Gary Neville and other leading football and political figures in backing a new "manifesto" for football.

Grant, the MP for Maidstone and the Weald who grew up on Carlisle's Raffles estate, is one of an eight-person group behind the plan.

Former Manchester United and England defender Neville, now part-owner of League Two club Salford City, is involved with others including former FA chairman David Bernstein, ex-FA executive director David Davies, mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham, former Bank of England governor Mervyn King, Olympic gold medallist Denise Lewis and sports lawyer Greg Scott.

They are backing a report titled “Saving the Beautiful Game” which urges a radical overhaul of the governance of English football, including the establishment of independent regulation for the game.

"Football has shown itself incapable of self-reform," says the report, which is published at a time talks aimed at restructuring the game, and helping EFL clubs, remain unresolved.

Project Big Picture, a controversial plan drawn up by the owners of Liverpool and Manchester United with the backing of EFL chairman Rick Parry, was this week shelved by top flight clubs.

The report by Neiville, Grant and their colleagues says: "What is indisputable is that English football’s failure to speak with one voice over the past nine months has highlighted its dysfunctional and damaging existing structure."

They say the game's power structure is "fundamentally out of balance" with a large "financial disparity and unsustainability", as well as an "embarrassing shortage of BAME coaches and managers at the top level, a general lack of diversity and the exploitation of clubs and fans"

They have called for an independent regulator or commissioner supported by statutory powers.

This, they say, would decide on new ways of distributing funds to the wider game based on a funding formula and a fair levy payable by the Premier League.

They also want a new licensing system for the professional game, a review of causes of "financial stress" in the EFL, governance reforms including a shake-up of the FA Council, and closer liaising with fans' organisations.

Neville told the i today: "We’re not here to please everybody. We’re here to stimulate change, tweak the tail of the tiger. We’re here to cause disruption.

“Is there anybody in this country who loves football with a crumb of knowledge about football who doesn’t believe the current system is wrong? Everyone thinks it’s wrong apart from maybe a few clubs at the very top."

Neville said there had been too much "negativity" towards Project Big Picture and said that, while its attempted "power-grab" on behalf of the "big six" in the top flight should be resisted, other aspects should remain on the table.

The project had pledged 25 per cent of future TV revenues to EFL clubs along with a £250m bailout. This week a separate Premier League offer of £50m to Leagues One and Two was rejected by the EFL, who believe Championship clubs should also be included in any such package.

Neville, though, added: “I don’t want the Glazer family, John W Henry or Roman Abramovich or Daniel Levy running football in this country.”

It is understood Grant, the former Sports Minister, is set to meet Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden to discuss the new group's report.