FSF membership passes 500,000

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At heart the FSF is a membership organisation. With that in mind we're very pleased to say that, following an end of year tally, our combined individual and affiliate/associate membership has now ticked past 500,000.

  • Individual fans should join the FSF free of charge here.
  • Fans' groups, fanzines or websites can affiliate/associate here.

Why should I join?

Our campaigns around ticket pricing, safe standing, and fair treatment of fans chime with the overwhelming majority of supporters we speak to, but they are set by our membership.

Strength comes in numbers, numbers bring legitimacy, and legitimacy means the authorities are more likely to sit up and take notice of our arguments.

Fandom is a broad church and we believe it's important that all views are represented. Whatever your club or identity, we want fans to join and engage in our democratic structure.

The arguments and views that we put forward aren't made up on the hoof. Members debate them at our Annual General Meeting, vote on them (each individual member has one vote), and implement them as policy. Once you join, you can involve yourself in that process.

So if you've ever heard us say anything and thought, what a load of guff, that's fine! Propose your alternative idea as a motion at the AGM and, if your point is backed by enough fellow fans, it'll become policy. There's more on that here.

There have been examples of that in recent years, most notably the high-profile campaign against pay day lenders (and their involvement in football). Sitting in the pub grumbling about things won't change anything, but getting involved with the FSF might.

Affiliate/associate membership

It's not just individuals who can join as members, so too can supporters' clubs, trusts, fanzines, websites, blogs, and even forums. These can fall under the category of affiliate or associate members.

In terms of influencing the FSF's democratic structure, affiliates can also participate as they have five votes at the FSF's AGM. They get five to reflect the fact that they themselves represent many fans (and all of a group's members are welcome to join the FSF as individual members).

Affiliate members are groups who have a democratic structure and constitution. Traditionally these tend to be supporters' clubs (independent or official, both are welcome) and supporters' trusts.

Supporters' trusts seek to gain some level of ownership within their clubs, in some cases that might be total ownership (e.g. AFC Wimbledon) while in others they might have a smaller stake (e.g. Swansea City where the trust owns nearly 20%).

Supporters Direct is the umbrella body for all trusts but trusts can be members of both the FSF and SD, as we certainly aren't in competition. We have in past years had joint annual conferences and share the same views on the key issues in football.

SD's remit is around fan ownership whereas the FSF has responsibility for issues such as ticket prices, safe standing, SLOs, policing/stewarding and related legal advice, Fans' Embassies for England and Wales fans, and other “general” issues, in England and Wales.

The FSF and SD have a shared interest in the issue of football governance and have appeared together in Parliament on that very subject. Scottish Fans play a similar role north of the border.

If your fans' group affiliates with the FSF we can also commit to helping promote localised events or news. That can take many forms. For example, if it's something which is only going to be of interest to your club's fans, that's no problem, we'd be happy to email a message directly to all our members who support that club.

Other club-specific stories might have wider echoes and be of interest to fans nationally though. In that case, we might retweet via @The_FSF, pop it on Facebook, include in our ebulletin, offer you blog space, or feature as a news story.

  • Fans' groups, fanzines or websites can affiliate/associate here.

Associates

Associates are non-democratically structured fans' groups who would like to associate themselves to the FSF. They can still participate in the FSF's democratic processes but, like individual members, they only have one vote (as opposed to five votes for affiliates).

Fanzines, websites, and blogs tend to fall into this category, along with non-democratically structured fans' groups. These groups are often “single issue” campaign groups who have sprung up at a club based around a specific situation.

As such they don't always have time to set up a constitution, have an inaugural meeting, voting and so on, but they'd still like to associate to the FSF. In time some of these groups become democratic bodies, in which case they are then classed as associates.

As with affiliates, we're more than happy to help associate groups promote relevant meetings or news.

  • Fans' groups, fanzines or websites can affiliate/associate here.