Former Manchester United midfielders Paul Scholes and Nicky Butt have teamed up with three former team-mates in a bid to buy Salford City FC, who currently play in the eighth tier of English football.
Scholes said: "We know it will be tough but we will be committed to this from the start and have some very exciting plans going forward."
Butt added: "Moor Lane's sporting heritage dates back 320 years, the oldest of it's type in the Manchester area and this should be safeguarded so it becomes a lasting legacy for future generations."
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Ministers are also looking at schemes such as “lock-in agreements” to reduce the 250,000 sales that fall through annually.