Manchester County FA has approved a radical new structure which will provide members of the grassroots football community with more of a say on how the game in Manchester is run.
The new structure, voted on by county FA members at a general meeting last night, will remove the current council and replace it with a series of working groups made up of members of the grassroots community.
With over 30,000 footballers and 3,500 teams affiliated to the county, officials at Manchester CFA wanted the people involved in the decision-making process to better reflect the people involved in the grassroots community in Manchester.
So instead of a council of nine elected members - some of whom are no longer involved in the grassroots game - the county FA will create a number of working groups to make recommendations on key aspects of their work.
More working groups may be created in the the future, but initially one group will focus on each of nine areas: Competitions, Disability, Education, Facilities & Investments, Leagues, Membership & Safeguarding, Recreational Football, Women & Girls, Youth to Adult Transitions.
Each working group is expected to include between five and 15 people and will feature relevant members of the grassroots football community for that particular area, in a bid to draw on best practice in each area and give those people doing a good job at grassroots level an active role in the county FA.
The groups will be chaired by previous council members, provided they are still active in grassroots football, but each working group member will be provided with voting membership to help shape the future of grassroots football in Manchester.
An overall strategy group known as 'Our Game in Manchester' will oversee the nine working groups. This group will include the chairs of each working group, whilst the chair of the strategy group itself will sit on the Manchester FA board, who have the final say on any decisions taken by the organisation.
By removing the council from the decision-making process, officials at Manchester FA expect decisions to be made faster, whilst the creation of the working groups should ensure those decisions more closely serve the needs of the grassroots football community.
A Manchester FA statement said: "'Our Game in Manchester' illustrates how Manchester FA is leading the way in making the necessary changes to ensure greater representation and diversification for the grassroots game.
The Football Association and county FAs across the country have long been criticised for lacking diversity at council level and being unrepresentative of the communities they serve, with the commonly-held view that they are full of "elderly, white men", many of whom are no longer involved in the game.
After years of inertia, the Football Association was told by government that it must reform otherwise it would be forced to do so, threatening to withdraw millions of pounds in public funding.
This week, the FA council unanimously approved a package of reforms by chairman Greg Clarke, who has promised to resign if they don't get over the line.
The proposed reforms, which will now be put to a vote at the FA's annual general meeting in May, will increase diversity on the FA board and FA council, whilst introducing maximum term lengths for members, who must also be actively involved at the organisations they represent.