FOOTBALL FANS: RIGHT TO BUY IN SIGHT SAYS JOHNSTONE
With less than a week to go until a Scottish Government consultation on fan ownership closes, Johnstone called on all those with a love of Scottish football to show their support for a fans’ right to buy.
In 2015, the Scottish Greens secured powers for the Scottish Government to introduce a fans' right to buy through the Community Empowerment Bill. The Scottish Government's consultation is seeking views on whether these new powers should be implemented.
Fan ownership is a well-established model for sports clubs in places such as Germany and Scandinavia. In Sweden in 2013 fans fought to preserve a legal requirement for at least 50 per cent plus 1 of shares to be held by supporters, meaning fans always have final say on decisions concerning their club.
The Scottish Greens believe fan ownership would bring balance and stability to Scottish football, as numerous clubs have struggled with poor financial management in recent years.
The campaign for fan ownership has been supported by fans across Scotland, by those with experience in the boardroom, as well as by leading anti-sectarianism and community empowerment campaigners.
The consultation on fan ownership ends on Friday (15 January).
Alison Johnstone, Health, Wellbeing and Sport spokesperson for the Scottish Greens and MSP for Lothian, said:
"We are one step away from scoring a huge win for Scottish clubs and their fans, and we must not let this chance slip by. In countries like Sweden and Germany, fan ownership is the norm - and their football clubs are more sustainable as a result.
"Too many Scottish clubs have been put at risk because of reckless financial management in recent years. Fans can be trusted to have their club's long-term interest at heart, but at the moment, fan ownership is too often seen as a last resort rescue option for a failing club which no-one else is willing to take on. We should give fans the rights and support they need to purchase their clubs in a more secure way.
"Fan ownership may not be the best option for all clubs, but it can be a brilliant opportunity for others. Scottish football would not survive without supporters – it’s time to put fans at the heart of their clubs."