SD in Football probe/ Launch of paper on Fan ownership

Supporters Direct today announced they are to attend a Mutuals Hearing that will also scrutinise the FA, Football League & Premier League

Their statement went as follows:

Supporters Direct to put the case for ‘more mutualism not less’ alongside governing bodies

Supporters Direct (SD) will today give evidence to the All Party Parliamentary Group for Mutuals at Parliament as part of a series of hearings that are designed to look at issues in the mutual sector. Today’s hearing will include representation from the three main football bodies in England – The FA, Premier League and Football League – along with a representative from UEFA.

Following the hearing there will be a launch event for SD’s paper on how supporter ownership through supporters’ trusts can be increased in football in England. Called ‘Supporter Share Ownership: recommendations on how to increase supporter ownership in football’, the paper will be introduced to representatives from the mutual and cooperative sector, football – including representatives from several supporter-owed football clubs - and politics, including Conservative MP Damian Collins, who has a Private Members Bill for greater financial transparency in football in front of Parliament, and Alison McGovern MP from the Labour Friends of Football.

Since 2000, 180 supporters’ trusts have been formed in the UK, and they now have over 400,000 members. The hearing will look at the current challenges for expanding mutualism in football and what assistance is needed to develop further.

It will propose solutions to the current barriers to the growth of fans representation in their football clubs. These barriers include access to finance, obstructive owners of individual football clubs who do not wish to engage with football supporters trusts and the governance of football in general which continues to exclude football supporters from having a meaningful say in how the game is run.

Chief Executive David Lampitt will be appearing for SD, and the hearing starts at 15:30 today.

SD will also be live tweeting from the event via @SuppDirect

For further information please contact Kevin Rye, Head of Communications:

· GROWTH: Supporters’ trusts have now been established at over 180 clubs

· MEMBERSHIP: Over 400,000 people are members of supporters’ trusts in the UK
· FINANCE: Supporters’ trusts have now brought in well over £30 million of new finance into football and rugby league.(This amounts to almost £7 of investment for every £1 of funding to SD)
· OWNERSHIP: Over 30 clubs in the UK are in ownership or in control by supporters’ trusts, including Football League clubs AFC Wimbledon, Exeter City, Portsmouth and Wycombe Wanderers

· PARTNERSHIP: Over 100 supporters’ trusts now have shareholding in their clubs
· BOARDROOM: Over 65 supporters’ trusts have directors at their clubs, including Premier League Swansea City FC
· REACH: Supporters of nearly 70% of clubs in the top five divisions of football in England, and the top four divisions in Scotland have established supporters’ trusts