‘Football is nothing without fans’ so said former Scotland Manager Jock Stein. We agree. That’s why the Scottish Co-operative Party is making the case for greater fan ownership in Scottish football, which we outline in our response to the Scottish Government’s consultation on ‘Supporter Involvement in Scottish Football Clubs’, published today.
As co-operators we believe that ownership of the assets of an organisation are important that is why we want to go further than give fan a say in how things are done at their club we want fans to have the final say by being the owners.
We think that the assets of the club like its name, colours and badge should also be protected. These shouldn’t be changed without agreement from the supporters. The Scottish Government should make sure that the medieval Lyon Court stops taking clubs to court over their badges and instead makes it easy to register those badges.
Supporters’ trusts should be given the right to buy at least 10 per cent of the club at the point of any change in ownership. Ownership should be clear and transparent, with the actual ownership of a club being a matter of public record.
If the Scottish Government believes in greater fan ownership then it must back this up with incentives. There should be a body responsible for promoting fan ownership of football clubs and the Scottish Government should look at tax incentives for genuinely supporter-owned clubs.
Fundamentally we believe that supporters should have more say in the running of their football clubs and we believe that mutual ownership and governance according to co-operative principles is how to achieve this.