The Scottish FA, the SPFL, and Supporters Direct Scotland are pleased to today (Saturday 26 March) launch the Scottish Football Supporters Survey 2016 – designed to give supporters across the country their say on the big issues affecting the national game.
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Supporters Direct Scotland announces the launch of a new consultancy unit, “Club Development Scotland”.
The new service will provide legal, financial and governance support to community groups who are seeking involvement in club projects, from grassroots community clubs, through to professional teams competing in the Scottish Professional Football League (SPFL).
Club Development Scotland was formed after a recommendation of the Working Group Report into Supporter Involvement in Football Clubs, written by Stephen Morrow. The group included Supporters Direct Scotland, the Scottish FA, SPFL, Scottish Government and sportscotland.
The launch of Club Development Scotland is the first step in what is set to be a period of significant change for Supporters Direct Scotland, with subsequent announcements on its future structure to follow.
Sign the petition at https://www.change.org/p/scottish-government-manifesto-for-change-within-scottish-football to add your support to this campaign.
Supporters Direct Scotland has been a major force in Scottish football in recent years, successfully challenging the political parties and football authorities to introduce real reform for the benefit of the fans. With these crucial elections in May 2016, we challenge the major parties to adopt our agenda to implement lasting change for Scottish fans.
1) Structured dialogue
Supporter involvement within the game is critical. SDS wishes to see clubs engage with supporters through a range of structured means including quarterly meetings with Supporters Trusts and embracing supporter on to the board of clubs. Supporters contribute time, emotional effort and, over a lifetime, a huge sum of money to support their clubs. Clubs should make a more concentrated effort to embrace their views.
2) Funding for fans to own their clubs
We are pushing for the creation of a new ‘Community Sports Fund’ for supporter groups to have a bigger stake in their club. SDS believes community groups and community owned clubs offer greater social value and could bring larger net benefit if they had access to affordable capital to transfer assets into community ownership.
3) Tackling prejudice
Football is a universally loved sport which can unite people and create positive change in the community. SDS can continue to play a key role in eradicating sectarianism, sexism, homophobia and racism which still exists around sport. SDS is committed to championing equality through sport and will continue to work with the key stakeholders to tackle discrimination.
4) Fair ticketing
The commodification of football has meant that too often, supporters have been viewed as cash cows rather than the lifeblood and valued stakeholders they are. SDS will continue to campaign for a ‘Football is Fair’ ticket price limit for Scottish FA & SPFL games to ensure that football remains accessible and affordable to families and future generations.
5) A living wage at clubs
SDS is passionate about equality at every level of the game, including financial equality. We would like to see those who work within clubs, some of which are multi-million pound companies, pay all their staff a living wage. SDS believe that if clubs can afford to pay players significant sums of money, they can afford to give staff an appropriate salary.
Supporters Direct have issues the following press release regarding a consultation process which will run until mid January.
Have your say online at: http://www.gov.scot/Publications/2015/09/8222
The Scottish Government are promoting the opportunity for supporters in Scotland to have their views heard around the creation of legislation to help with advancing supporters involvement within the game.
Minister for Sport Jamie Hepburn said:
“The Scottish Government is committed to ensuring football supporters have the opportunity to be involved in the decision making and running of their football club wherever possible.
“I know some clubs already engage well with their fans, but I believe we can do more.
“Our consultation is seeking views on each of the main options to strengthen supporter involvement in clubs: a right to influence, a right to govern, a right to bid, and a right to buy.
“Football clubs occupy a special place in the hearts of supporters and communities in Scotland.
“This is a unique opportunity to help shape the future of Scottish football. I encourage you to make your voice heard and have your say.”
The Scottish Government believes supporters should have a role in decision-making – or even ownership, when the opportunity arises – of their clubs.
Andrew Jenkin, head of Supporters Direct Scotland said, “we look forward to seeing the outcome of this consultation process.”
“We truly believe supporters are vital to football in Scotland and their views should be listened to throughout all aspects of the game’s governance. For the last 15 years, Supporters Direct Scotland have been working towards further involving supporters within the ownership of clubs through democratic structures.”
“We’re pleased that the Government are going to be taking on-board supporters views within this process and are happy to promote this opportunity to supporters to ensure their views are represented.”
Parliamentary debate on legislation earlier this year demonstrated unanimous support for this position and a consultation is now underway on the full range of options available on football supporter involvement – including ownership:
- right to influence;
- right to govern;
- right to bid; and
- right to buy.
The consultation is available online for people to complete, and the Scottish Government is working with fans’ representatives, football bodies and MSPs to ensure all views are heard.
The consultation timeline is longer than usual and will run until 15 January 2016 to specifically allow for the widest and most representative range of responses.
Following the closing date, all responses will be analysed and considered along with any other available evidence. It is expected that a report on the consultation will be published in Spring 2016.
The consultation follows on from the Scottish Government’s establishment of a working group led by an independent chair, Senior Lecturer Stephen Morrow of Stirling University, which was asked to identify, consider and provide recommendations on potential ways to increase and improve supporter involvement clubs. The working group – which included representatives from the Scottish FA, Scottish Professional Football League, Supporters Direct Scotland and sportScotland – published its report on 30 January 2015 and made a number of recommendations which are now being taken forward.
About Supporters Direct:
- Supporters Direct help fans to set up democratic cooperatives (known as supporters’ trusts) to gain influence in the running and ownership of their clubs.
- SD and SD Scotland represent over 200 supporters’ trusts and similar organisations in England, Scotland and across Europe, with over 750,000 members.
- 39 clubs in the UK are owned by their supporters, with three in the Scottish Professional Football League; four in the English Football League; and three in the top three divisions of English Rugby League
Co-operative Energy is set to harness the power of sports fans with the announcement of a major new sponsorship agreement with Supporters Direct.
Co-operative Energy is to become the Official Energy Partner to Supporters Direct in a two year deal lasting until 2016, with fans set to benefit from simplified, competitive tariffs and Supporters Trusts given access to a profit sharing agreement which will see funds pumped back into Supporter Initiatives.
The agreement will also see Co-operative Energy supporting Supporters Direct’s core work in with Rugby League, Premier League, Football League and Non-League clubs the length of the country, which aims to encourage sustainability and supporter involvement in the game.
In addition to securing a set of commercial rights the partnership deal will see Co-operative Energy working closely with all of the Supporters’ Trusts in England and Wales to promote environmental awareness, in particular energy efficiency, and help communicate some of the practical solutions that will move them to a more sustainable future.
Speaking at the launch of the sponsorship deal, Co-operative Energy General Manager Ramsay Dunning said: “We are looking forward to building a successful relationship with Supporters Direct over the next two seasons. Co-operative Energy has not only been identified for our simplified tariffs but we have been recognised in the industry for our outstanding customer service. We will be bringing this to a new network of supporters up and down the country and we look forward to developing this partnership.”
And Commercial Manager at Supporters Direct, Mark Bullock said: “I am delighted to welcome Co-operative Energy as the Official Energy Partner to Supporters Direct. Their involvement is representative of our shared cooperative values and celebrates the success of the supporters trust movement in the U.K. Their support for our core work is particularly encouraging and the partnership allows Supporters Trusts to generate an important residual income which will reinforce the organisations’ community benefit. Strengthening the Supporters Trust network is at the top of our agenda and we welcome Cooperative Energy to our growing list of commercial partners in the current season and look forward to a successful relationship.”
Co-operative Energy, which is part of The Midcounties Co-operative, now has 200,000 customers.
Supporters Direct Scotland have published the first issue of their E-Mag. The first issue contains information on their response to the National Football Survey results and League Reconstruction outcome. The e-mag can be accessed at http://www.scottishfans.org/News/newemaglaunch.aspx
The Raith Supporters Trust attended the Supporters Direct Scotland Conference on Sunday at the Falkirk Stadium. This is the opportunity for Trusts across Scotland to get together and talk about the challenges facing Trusts and Scottish football. It was an interesting day with a number of speakers including Paul Goodwin, Chief Executive of Supporters Direct Scotland, Professor Stephen Morrow an expert in football finance from Stirling University, David Lampitt the Head of Supporters Direct UK.
Perhaps the two most interesting talks of the day were David Longmuir, Chief Executive of the SFL and the Falkirk manager Steven Pressley. Pressley spoke well and gave a passionate speech on what he thought was wrong with the Scottish game. You can read what he said here:
David Longmuir of the SFL outlined the thinking behind the SFL proposals for restructuring the game in Scotland. This includes a 16/10/16 set up with the main objectives below:
- increase the size of the top league
- remove the need to play each other four times
- create a ten team league in the middle that helps facilitate progress between the leagues
- create a more equitable distribution of finances
- removes the financial ‘cliff’ that exists when teams are relegated out of the SPL
- introduce a pyramid system at the bottom of the third tier (dependent on the structure below allowing this to happen)
A sixteen team top league reduces the number of games top flight clubs have so the plan is to create a sectional league cup with groups of four in a format similar to the Champions League or a World Cup. Longmuir was impressive and was very open to hearing what Trust thought of the plans. The main problem seems to be getting agreement of the SPL clubs and he admitted that ‘consensus was the biggest hurdle to change’.
In the afternoon session Raith Trust Board member James Proctor updated us on progress on his Supporters Charter project. More info available on that here: http://www.scottishfa.co.uk/scottish_football.cfm?page=3438
Supporters Direct Scotland now have a dedicated section on Pie and Bovril website and you can find out more at www.scottishfans.org
News from the football world, as selected by Supporters Direct.
News from the football world, as selected by Supporters Direct.
Supporters Direct Scotland, the voice of football supporters’ trusts in Scotland, today publishes The Fans’ Plan – key recommendations to shape the future of Scottish league football based on the results of supporters’ surveys over the past two years and a detailed analysis of the issues facing the game.
The Fans’ Plan calls for:
- greater competition within Scottish league football structures
- equal funding for each team in a league
- support for clubs by central league management to increase the average attendance over a season of 20% by 2016, and achieve an average stadium capacity utilisation of 65% within 10 years
- two leagues of 16 teams, and a qualifying league of 10
- re-introducing the League Cup, with a mini-league qualifying format structured on a geographical basis with four teams in each group
- improved training and professional development for all players including greater use of Modern Apprenticeships and post-career planning
- the establishment and implementation of a strong club licensing scheme
Read the full article on the Supporters Direct website