Report does not recommend supporters have seats on club boards
20 January ~ Supporters’ groups will have the right to meet with their clubs twice a year to discuss major strategic issues under plans in a new government report. However, the proposals stopped short of recommending that supporters should have seats on clubs’ boards. The Expert Working Group on Supporter Ownership and Engagement, which included representatives from the FA, Premier League and Football League, as well as the Football Supporters’ Federation and Supporters Direct, met ten times over the past year.
The group also recommended that in the event of a club becoming insolvent, administrators would be required to meet with supporters’ trusts and, if they were found to be credible, give them an opportunity to bid. A Fans Fund Panel, supported by £1 million over the next three years from the Premier League, will help with professional fees to build a credible bid. Meanwhile, any planned substantial changes to a club’s colours or crest must be discussed with fans.
FSF chief executive Kevin Miles said: “We welcome the recommendations in this report that supporters’ representatives should be entitled to regular structured engagement with clubs, and that supporter representation within the FA should be strengthened. Fans aren’t only concerned with facilities and team performance; we also care deeply about the ownership, governance and strategic direction of the clubs we support.”
However, the Manchester United Supporters Trust believe the measures do not go far enough. In a statement, they said: "Whilst we welcome the proposals to assist supporter ownership of clubs in the event of insolvency, the reality is that insolvency is mercifully rare. For the vast majority of football supporters, whose clubs are not facing insolvency, the proposals aimed at reducing barriers to supporter ownership offer little and thus we believe the Government needs to continue to review this if they are serious about meeting previous manifesto commitments.”