Manchester City captain Vincent Kompany believes UEFA's Financial Fair Play regulations have dire implications even for clubs outside England's top flight.
The Belgian defender told The Mirror that the restrictions on clubs spending outside their income will prevent even the best supported Football League sides from recapturing their former glories.
He said: "What has been introduced denies clubs like Leeds, Nottingham Forest and others with big fan-bases the opportunity to ever get to the top level again."
Kompany is angry because Manchester City were fined by UEFA last summer while rivals Manchester United are allowed to set Premier League transfer records.
He argues that Sheikh Mansour's huge investment in setting City back on track would not be allowed now, and prevents sides like Leeds and Forest from spending huge fees even if it was within their means.
One club who Kompany's comments may particularly apply to even if he did not specifically mention them, are Sheffield Wednesday. The Owls also possess a large fanbase and were earlier this year taken over by Thai businessman Dejphon Chansiri who has pledged to return them to the Premier League.
Fans of Leeds, Forest and Wednesday would likely settle at this point simply to return to the top flight, given it has been more than a decade in each case, but even if they get there though, pushing onto become a Champions League club like Manchester City is an even bigger transition.
Kompany added: "If City’s owners hadn’t invested like they did five years ago, it might have been too late for them to create a top club."
There have been enough obstacles for each of the sleeping giants over the last few years that the FFP regulations may have bypassed fans, and Kompany's warning about protectionism of the game's elite may not be a pressing one for fans in the Football League.
It does however strike a chord that football's rich want to stay as they are, while for those far removed from Champions League football, it seems further away than ever, battling for scraps to even earn the right to be regarded as one of England's top 20 teams.