Scottish Greens have today called on the Scottish Government and Dumfries and Galloway Council to support the Queens Trust in its bid to get a place on the board of their Scottish Championship club, Queen of the South.
Alison Johnstone MSP, who has led on the campaign for a fans’ right to buy in the Scottish Parliament, said the situation clearly demonstrates the need to secure more rights for Scottish football fans.
Sarah Beattie-Smith, Scottish Green Party MSP candidate for South of Scotland, highlighted that enabling fans to be involved in decisions that affect their clubs is essential for the success of Scottish football.
In the spring of 2015, the Greens won cross-party support at Holyrood to give the Scottish Government powers to establish a fans’ legal right to buy. Since then, the Scottish Government has consulted on how to use these powers, with a legal right-to-buy set out as an option.
Fan ownership is a well-established model for sports clubs, and is the norm in Scandinavia and Germany. In Scotland, fans should have the same opportunity to run and own their clubs.
"This bid by Queen of the South fans to get a say in the running of their club shows exactly why Scottish fans need more rights and support. Dedicated fans who rightly want more involvement in their club are having to fight tooth and nail to even get one representative on the board of their club.
"It's not just fans who are losing out here - we know from experience in a number of countries that fans can make a brilliant contribution to the stewardship of their clubs. The Scottish Greens have been campaigning for a fans’ right to buy – allowing fans to take over the running of their clubs where both supporters and clubs would benefit from it. I hope that the Scottish Government recognises the predicament of the Queens Trust and other similar fan groups, and takes on board the Scottish Green proposals to put fans first.”
“Queen of the South is a very important institution in the South of Scotland, but in order for it to continue thriving, we have to make sure the fan community are able to better take part in decisions that affect their club.
“It’s crucial that supporters aren’t pushed to the side-lines of Scottish football, but with the current rules of the game, there is a serious danger that fan groups won’t have any say in the way their clubs are run.
“The Scottish Greens believe that with a right to buy and funding support for fan groups who are planning to bid for their clubs, Scottish football could thrive. I urge the Dumfries and Galloway Council to do everything it can to support the Queens Trust, and hope that the Scottish Government will play its part in making sure fans’ rights are better protected in the future.”