IAN Evatt hopes football will change its ways however the current pandemic funding crisis is solved.

With several EFL clubs said to be on the brink of financial ruin because of the ban on crowds, the pressure to strike a deal with the Premier League for a bailout is at an all-time high.

The controversial Project Big Picture plan has now been rejected, as was a follow-up offer of £50million from the Premier League to cover short-term losses for clubs in Leagues One and Two.

The EFL want any settlement to “meet the requirements of all 72 clubs” but many top-flight owners are concerned about the economic fragility of the Championship, a division which incurred losses of more than £350m last year.

Evatt understands that a balance must be struck.

“It’s a very complex issue,” he told The Bolton News.

“Football clubs cannot be allowed to go out of business, they are the heartbeat of the community. This is a working-class game and the people who work hard 9am to 5pm if not longer every single day deserve to see their club exist. We can’t allow any more to go.

“But when we’re asking for help from the government or the Premier League we have to make sure we are not rescuing clubs who have been careless with money and overspent.

“There has to be a sustainable way.

“If clubs are suffering as a result of the pandemic then it’s all well and good, they need to be helped, but if they have gambled with their futures we have to be really careful with the message we’re sending by bailing them out.”

If the bail-out is handed out across all 72 clubs, Evatt would like to see tighter controls on football club ownership in the future.

“If you go down that route we need to make sure the Owners and Directors’ test is better and that whoever comes into this game has the best interest of the football club at heart,” he said.

“There’s enough money in the Premier League and in the country to support the clubs, it just needs to be organised.  I don’t like the idea of the big clubs suggesting B teams – there’s nothing wrong with the structure of league football in this country, and I say that as someone who has managed a non-league club.

“Take all the self-preservation out of it we need to make sure there’s enough to go around.

“We’re talking from a very educated position at this football club, it’s more relevant because we have seen it first-hand.

“Luckily for us now we have a fantastic group of owners who have the club’s best interests at heart.”