Supporters summit

Football fans ‘should have bigger say in clubs’

Jamie HepburnFootball supporters should have a greater say in the day-to-day running of their clubs, Sports Minister Jamie Hepburn told fans today.

Addressing the Supporters Direct Scotland (SDS) Supporters’ Summit at Hampden Park, Mr Hepburn spoke about the importance of fans having a stake in their clubs, and how this can help make the Scottish game stronger in the longer term.

Mr Hepburn, Minister for Sport, Health Improvement and Mental Health, used his speech to encourage fans to take part in the Scottish Government’s consultation on supporter involvement, which is gathering views on the best ways to help fans to have an influence in the running of their clubs.

The consultation, which closes on 15 January, looks at options which could be included in future legislation.

These include a right to influence the way a club is run, to govern a club or to bid for ownership when it comes up for sale. The final option is to introduce a right to buy, where fans would have the right to buy their football club.

The Supporters’ Summit looked at issues including fan ownership, governance and the example of how clubs are run in Germany.

Mr Hepburn said: “I firmly believe there is a powerful and persuasive case for supporter involvement – and, where appropriate – ownership of their clubs.

“It is commonplace in the Bundesliga, so often held up as an example of best practice on and off the field.

“And supporter involvement and ownership is gaining momentum here in Scotland too. Hearts and Motherwell are pursuing high-profile fan ownership models, while other clubs like Clyde, Dunfermline and Stirling Albion have led the way. So fan involvement and ownership can – and does – work.

“The consultation closes on January 15. After that, we will analyse and assess the responses and publish a report. Then we will work closely with the football authorities, clubs and – of course – supporters and supporters’ groups to consider the best way forward.”

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