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First SD Scotland Index on Governance and Ownership Released

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Supporters Direct Scotland (SD Scotland) are pleased to release the findings of their first index into the governance and ownership of clubs in the Scottish Professional Football League (SPFL).

The index builds on a Working Group Report on Supporter Involvement in Football Clubs (made up of the SFA, SPFL, Supporters Direct Scotland, Scottish Government and Sportscotland) which provided recommendations on reducing barriers to further involving fans within their clubs.

Some of these recommendations were ultimately not accepted or pursued by clubs, but are still regarded by SD Scotland as good practice, and have been used as the basis for the SD Scotland Index.

The report recommended the introduction of an annual independently assessed Supporter Involvement Award which would highlight good work being carried out by clubs around the areas of involving supporters within the governance and ownership of clubs. This Index seeks to build upon that recommendation by measuring clubs’ progress with some of the other recommendations within the report – specifically:

  • All clubs should give consideration as to the most appropriate structures and other informal mechanisms through which to ensure supporter involvement in their governance (Recommendation 2.3)
  • For all Board positions, clubs should provide: the names of directors; their involvement with the club; and the reasoning for their appointment. This information should be made available on the club’s website and communicated directly to its recognised supporter groupings. (Recommendation  2.6)
  • Clubs should provide information annually on the number of board meetings held and on the number of directors attending. (Recommendation  2.7)
  • To participate in the Scottish Professional Football League, a club must declare to the SPFL and to the SFA, and publish, the identity of the ultimate beneficial owner of the club. Should that owner be a trust, the club must disclose the ultimate beneficiaries of the trust and the name of the trustees. (Recommendation 3.1)

With this, the Index measures the areas of clubs’ Engagement and Transparency in a number of areas:

  • Engagement… do the club:
  • have a Supporter Representative?
  • have a Supporter Liaison Officer?
  • engage in Structured Dialogue with supporters? (with this we mean do the club have a structured means through which they engage and involve supporters within the club’s governance – i.e. quarterly meetings with a Supporters Trust?)
  • Transparency… do the club:
    –publish financial data on their website?
  • list the directors of the club?
  • provide details of who owns the club?
  • provide information on the number of board meetings held, and on the number of directors attending?

The index also examines the breakdown of ownership of SPFL clubs. This has been inspired by the work of the Raith Rovers Supporters Trust who have provided updates on ‘Who Owns What?’ at the club for a number of years.

The information gathered within this document has been sourced through publicly accessible records such as Companies House and clubs’ websites. Additionally, we spoke to supporter group representatives for clarification and confirmation of the details attained.

Alan Russell, Chair of the Raith Rovers Supporters Trust and SD Scotland Council member said:

“It can be difficult to really understand who owns our football clubs. Club ownership structures can be complex – none more so than my club Raith Rovers – and it can be confusing and time consuming to find accurate and up-to-date information. We often hear soundbites in the media about new investors and takeover deals, and only discover later that the true picture is not as simple as we thought.

Through this work we have tried to keep things simple and transparent without losing sight of the crucial details. We will update the information periodically so that this remains as accurate as possible, and encourage anyone to use this as the first port of call if they want to know more about their club’s ownership and governance.”

Andrew Jenkin, Head of SD Scotland said:

“We’re delighted to be sharing the details of the first SD Scotland Index. Although all the information within is freely available, to our knowledge this is the first index of its kind providing the breakdowns of ownership of SPFL clubs and what they’re doing to involve fans within it. We appreciate there is no one definitive model of ownership for Scottish football clubs, which is reflected within the results.

We hope it provides a useful footing for constructive conversations about the sustainable development of clubs based on supporter involvement. We’re very thankful to the work of Alan Russell and the Raith Rovers Supporters Trust for their work in developing it.”

Please note, this information is correct to the best of SD Scotland’s knowledge as of the 2nd of June 2017. If you have any corrections or alterations to the data provided, please contact SD Scotland at .

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