A week of celebrating and promoting fan and community ownership of sports clubs has been launched by Supporters Direct Scotland (SDS).
SDS has also announced that Enabling Sport, a social enterprise set up to assist community ownership of football and sporting clubs, will be the main sponsor of the series or activities throughout the week, as well as corporate sponsor for SDS’ ongoing activities.
Enabling Sport was created by and is serviced by leading business advisory organisations with a total commitment to the social and environmental benefits of change. See Notes to Editors.
With four SPFL clubs already operating as community and fan owned clubs and a further four, senior clubs expected to progress towards the same ownership model, Community Ownership Week aims to educate and inspire more supporter’s trusts and fan groups to become involved in the ownership of clubs for the benefit of their respective communities.
Paul Goodwin, Head of Supporters Direct Scotland said: “Community Ownership Week will run between the 19th and 26th of February, and we’ll host a weeklong celebration of the community ownership movement across Scotland. Highlights will include presentations to MSPs at Holyrood and to Scottish MPs at Westminster as well as undertaking a series of conversations with fans, face to face at games Annan, Hearts, Motherwell and Ayr, and a lot of chat through social media.”
“Supporters Direct has a great deal of experience of fan and community owned clubs and has worked with and advised clubs across Europe. As such they make an ideal partner for us to work with in supporting clubs that face the challenges and opportunities of restructuring their finances,” said Alistair Dickson, director of Enabling Sport.
“Dunfermline, Stirling Albion, Clyde and East Stirlingshire are already community owned clubs and others, including Annan Athletic, Motherwell, Ayr United and of course Hearts are progressing towards the same model, and we wanted to support the activity of Supporters Direct Scotland and its Community Ownership Week initiative,” he added.
Leeann Dempster, Chief Executive of Motherwell FC said: “For us here at Motherwell FC, shared community ownership is our preference. It was our owner John Boyle who started us on this journey; he had the vision and he had the passion to let go. We all now need to step up and to share in the ownership of our great club – we all want it to work.”
Margaret Ross, on behalf of Dunfermline Athletic FC, said: “We are fully behind Community Ownership Week and urge all supporters’ trusts and their communities to explore how they can get closer to owning their own club. We have learnt a lot in the last year and are open to any supporters’ trusts who want to learn about our experience.”
Paul Goodwin, Head of Supporters Direct Scotland added: “We know that fans and communities have many questions about how it could work for them and Community Ownership Week is all about providing answers. It will also give us a chance to celebrate the movement of supporter involvement and ownership of their clubs.
“Enabling Sport is a key strategic partner for SDS and they bring a wealth of specialist advice and experience, as well as much needed financial support. They are highly experienced in providing the legal and technical expertise for groups looking to formalise their clubs under fan and community ownership, and can help guide clubs and fan groups through the process.”