mercoledì 20 gennaio 2016

UK, Government’s expert working group report on supporter ownership and engagement


MINISTERS MUST ENSURE REPORT MARKS ‘NEW ERA’ FOR SUPPORTERS
++ Clubs must implement proposals for structured dialogue on strategic issues including finance, governance and ownership(Source: supporters-direct.org)

Supporters Direct (SD) today welcomed publication of the Government’s expert working group report on supporter ownership and engagement as a “step forward” with the potential to mark the start of a new era of meaningful dialogue between supporters and football clubs if the recommendations are implemented effectively.

The report contains a number of recommendations which are designed to assist supporter ownership including opportunities to bid in an insolvency process, and additional funding set aside to help supporters’ trusts to prepare an ownership bid, where they have the consent of the owner.

The group also endorsed SD’s proposals for community owned sports clubs (COSCs) which would reward supporter owned clubs with tax breaks.

SD, which was part of the group tasked with making recommendations to Government, said that the new guidelines must be implemented by football’s governing bodies within the spirit in which they were intended.

The new regime of “structured dialogue” with supporters must mean the new bi-annual meetings with trusts include meaningful information and effective discussion of finance, governance and ownership. SD said it hoped ministers would regularly monitor progress made by clubs.

SD said the changes could help relationships both at local level between supporters’ trusts and their clubs, and at national level between Supporters Direct and the football authorities.

SD pledged to continue to lobby in the areas where it would ideally have liked the report to go further to improve club governance and to make supporter ownership realistic whatever level a club is playing at.

The report was launched by the Government today at AFC Wimbledon, the League 2 club formed and owned by its supporters’ trust. On the platform with the Sports Minister, Brian Burgess, Chairman of SD, said:

“The Government must keep pressure on the football authorities to ensure that this marks the start of a new era of meaningful dialogue, both at local and national level.  It is a welcome step forward in a long-term process of reform, aiming to reconnect clubs with their communities.

“We’d like to thank the football authorities for their constructive engagement with the issues, which we look forward to building on. We are expecting the structured dialogue between clubs and supporters’ trusts to be properly structured and be accompanied by suitable information to discuss the major issues of finance, governance and ownership.

“We also welcome the positive assurances from the Minister of Sport to maintain pressure on the football bodies, and other government departments, especially the Treasury.

“If the Government is serious about supporter ownership, we need their support to encourage supporters to save for, invest in and succeed as community owned sports clubs. That means help with tax breaks and support to implement our COSC proposal.

“Ultimately the success of this report will be measured by the number of supporters who feel empowered to either take ownership or secure a greater say in the governance of their beloved club.”

Read more:
"The time for talking is over - Government must act on new proposals to increase supporter ownership" say FC United

Minister hails club ethos

HCST welcomes new proposals for football fans’ engagement

Report of the Government Expert Working Group on Football Supporter Ownership and Engagement:Written statement - HLWS467

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