Britain's government is demanding the English Football Association implement wide-ranging governance changes, including stricter checks on foreign owners, to ensure the game's long-term viability.

Sports minister Hugh Robertson says football's governing body has ''failed to keep up with the changing pace of the modern game.''

The government wants ''particularly robust criteria'' applied to prospective owners as part of a new licensing system for clubs run by the FA.

With English football clubs so attractive to foreign investors and markets, the government wants to ensure ''checks and balances are in place to protect the overall financial integrity of the national game and its long-term viability.''