Developing Public Policy to Encourage Supporter Community Ownership in Football
“It is difficult to think of another social or cultural sector that has as wide a reach, as comprehensive coverage of the nation, as deep historical roots or as big a potential to deliver social value as football.”
Published in May 2011, this paper takes the promise made in the coalition’s Programme for Government – to ‘…encourage the reform of football governance rules to support the co-operative ownership of football clubs by supporters’ – as its starting point.
There is a direct relationship between the stated objectives of the coalition Government and the aims of Supporters Direct. This paper offers some practical means by which Government policy can be implemented. Issues covered include: Supporters, Community and Local Social Value; existing Company Law; Community Asset legislation; UK Sports Law; the Localism Bill; and methods of financing supporter community ownership.
Developing Football Regulation to Encourage Supporter Community Ownership in Football
“It’s all very well football legislating to punish failure but they are not regulating to prevent it.”
Also published in May 2011, this paper focuses on the changes needed in the regulation of football in England, to foster the growth of supporter community ownership. It also outlines the role supporter ownership and involvement can play in strengthening the governance of football and its individual clubs. Supporter community ownership brings greater accountability, reduces short-termism and aligns the interests of the club and its supporters.
Unfortunately, regulatory reform to date has been marginal, dealing with the symptoms of deep-seated problems in English football, rather than tackling their cause: the unsustainable financial state of many clubs and the failure to align the interests of clubs and their supporters and other stakeholders. Supporters Direct believe these can only be addressed by thorough-going structural reform.
Financing Supporter Community Ownership
This paper provides information and guidance on the different forms of fund raising available to supporters’ trusts. Supporters Direct believes that the best way for supporters to have a meaningful role in the running of their clubs and to achieve the best possible social and community impact of clubs is through supporter community ownership based on the democratic supporters’ trust model.
However, achieving the ownership of football clubs always requires trusts to be able to finance that ownership. One of the major obstacles to extending current supporter community ownership – whether for wholly owned, majority or minority ownership – is the ability of trusts to raise capital finance. An additional difficulty is the huge variety of circumstances in which opportunities for developing ownership through collectively and democratically held shareholdings occur. For those supporters’ trusts that do have an ownership stake in their clubs, there are additional capital requirements, such as the development of new facilities. This briefing paper examines the relevant issues, and outlines how supporters’ trusts can finance supporter community ownership.
Business Advantages of Supporter Community Ownership in Football
This paper is based on the practical experience of those who run supporter community owned clubs and supporters of those clubs; and provides both qualitative and quantitative evidence as well as case study material, on the business advantages that supporter community ownership of football clubs can bring. The purpose of the report is to inform owners of clubs and local partners such as local authorities, as well as the game’s administrators, about how supporter community ownership can contribute to the sustainability and prosperity of football clubs. It will also provide evidence, precedence and arguments for supporters’ trusts in their work to achieve partial or full ownership of their clubs and share good practice.
This work gathers together knowledge developed from the extensive experience of Supporters Direct working in this field as well as from previously commissioned research undertaken by Supporters Direct (The Social and Community Value of Football).