COMMUNITY BILL MUST INCLUDE RIGHTS FOR FOOTY FANS
Green MSP Alison Johnstone will put the case today for 'right to buy' rules to be extended to give fans the power to buy their local club.
The Greens launched their Fans First campaign in 2013, and will seek to use the Community Empowerment Bill, which reaches Stage 1 at Holyrood today, to bring forward practical measures to boost fan ownership in Scottish football. The party's proposals include a 'right to buy' when a club comes up for sale, or when it goes into administration, or a fans' right to buy a proportion of club shares.
In response to a debate called by the Greens on fan ownership last year, the Scottish Government announced a working group into 'supporter involvement' but its remit and report deliberately excluded consideration of fan ownership.
Alison Johnstone, Green MSP for Lothian said:
"The Scottish Government are well behind the curve when it comes to helping dedicated fans to secure the future of their local clubs. Now is the right time to give well-organised fan groups the chance to gain greater ownership over their club: the Bill we'll debate today is all about empowering communities and giving them control over their assets. All across Scotland, tens of thousands go out every weekend to support their teams through thick and thin. Apart from land, there could hardly be a more obvious community asset than a football club.
"There can be no argument that the current model of football ownership is flawed and unstable, after what's happened to Hearts, Rangers, Dunfermline, and many more of this country's clubs. We also know that fan ownership works, both here and in other countries. And fans' trusts tell us they struggle to take over their clubs, even when they've fallen into administration. So far, SNP Ministers have said they're not prepared to act, but I'm hoping they're prepared to listen. Parliament will get a chance to decide, as this Bill goes through: are MSPs on the side of fans, or on the side of the failed football elites?"