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Partick Thistle – Towards Supporter Ownership

Partick Thistle FC recently announced that the majority shareholding in the club would transfer to the PTFC Trust rather than to either of the two established fans’ organisations, The Jags Foundation and The Jags Trust.

Three Black Cats Ltd (the company set up by the late Colin Weir) has held 55% of the club’s shares since November 2019, with the intention to pass control to the club’s supporters.

While this may be a move towards fan ownership, it is not fan ownership yet. We believe the following principles of supporter ownership are fundamental:

  • A minimum of 50% +1 of the voting rights of the club is controlled collectively by a democratic entity which has an open and inclusive membership
    • “Democratic” means that the entity works on a one member one vote principle
    • “Inclusive” means that there are no substantial barriers to participate as a voting member, with membership open to all that are sympathetic to the aims of the club
  • Any profits are reinvested back into the club as opposed to being distributed to shareholders
  • The club is committed to running as a sustainable business

At present, the PTFC Trust does not satisfy these criteria. Rather than being a registered company or society, it is governed by a Trust Deed – these are not accessible by the public, so there is very little transparency with this type of entity. In contrast, the legal structure for a supporters trust is usually a Community Benefit Society, registered with the Financial Conduct Authority and being run for the benefit of the wider community.

The PTFC Trust have indicated their intention to operate democratically, inclusively and transparently, and we believe that it is important that this happens quickly to give Jags fans confidence in their plans for the club. We look forward to Partick Thistle Football Club becoming the eighth supporter-owned club in the SPFL.

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