The Department for Culture, Media and Sport's Expert Working Group on Football Supporter Ownership and Engagement has issued a call for evidence on the barriers to increasing supporter ownership and engagement in clubs.
The Expert Working Group was launched in October and met for the first time on November 25th. The call for evidence aims to identify current legal, financial, tax and insolvency barriers preventing greater collective supporter share ownership of football clubs.
The group is calling for expert evidence from supporter groups and from the sectors and industries involved outlining experience and opinion on which current football rules and regulations and/or statutory law create barriers to supporter ownership of football clubs.
The group would also like to receive ideas and opinion on any suggested changes to existing regulation or legislation which would support, sustain and incentivise greater collective supporter and community ownership of football clubs.
The call for evidence also covers supporter involvement in governance of football clubs, and invites suggestions of best practice or ways to sustain and increase broader supporter engagement at football clubs in England and Wales.
Further details of the Call for Evidence, and the online process for submitting evidence can be found via this link.
The deadline for the submission of evidence is 9th January 2015. The group will meet to discuss and review the evidence in January and February next year, and will deliver initial recommendations by March 2015, and a full report later in 2015.
Minister for Sport, Helen Grant, said:
"Everyone involved in the Expert Working Group wants this to be a thorough piece of work and today’s call for evidence is a statement of intent that the group will be as inclusive as possible.
"Many people, groups and sectors have opinions on how we can support and sustain supporter ownership of and involvement in football clubs and this process gives everyone an opportunity to be heard. The Group will report to DCMS next year on what steps can be taken in this important area."
The Expert Working Group members are:
- AFC Wimbledon Supporters Trust (Expert Witness member of Group)
- Football Association
- Football Conference
- Football League
- Football Supporters' Federation
- Portsmouth Supporters Trust (Expert Witness member of Group)
- Premier League
- Supporters Direct
- Swansea Supporters Trust (Expert Witness member of Group)
- Wrexham Supporters Trust (Expert Witness member of Group)
Additional expert witnesses are likely to include other Supporters' Trusts and expert organisations, who will be invited to attend future meetings as appropriate.
The Group is independently chaired by Joanna Manning-Cooper, Director of Marketing and Communications for England Rugby 2015, organisers of the Rugby World Cup and a Portsmouth FC Season ticket holder, member of Portsmouth Supporters Trust, and a community shareholder in Portsmouth FC.
The Expert Working Group terms of reference can be found here.
Thanks to colsart for the image.