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Katie Dungate (Birmingham City) and Caragh Hamilton (Lewes) battle for possession (© Alamy)

Lewes FC: Supporters should have a say in sale of women’s team

Lewes FC have been in supporter ownership for 13 years and, during that time, they have been at the forefront of promoting women’s football – it’s a legacy of which the club and its supporters are justifiably proud.

The club has around 2500 member owners and regularly attracts crowds of 800 for both its men’s and women’s teams with the latter actually drawing marginally higher crowds while playing in the Women’s Championship.

That is fairly unique and no doubt caught the attention of US-football investment group Mercury 13 who say they are set to invest $100 million in women’s football. Mercury 13 is led by entrepreneur Victoire Cogevina who is an advocate for gender equality in sport.

The group’s first target for investment is Lewes FC and the club’s board wishes to press ahead in selling a 51% stake of the women’s team only to Mercury 13.

What does the FSA think?

We believe that supporters should have a say in key heritage and strategic matters at their football club – and selling the majority stake in a successful women’s team falls into that category.

The proposed sale is a major development in the club’s history that will have a significant impact on the whole club as well as the women’s team. 

Lewes FC’s website refers to club members as the owners and the club’s board have confirmed with the FSA that they plan to hold a binding vote with owners as part of the next stage in the consultation process.

Members should be given the maximum amount of information followed by a meeting of members and representatives from the club’s board where the issues can be discussed in detail and a vote taken.

Supporters should be at the heart of a football club’s decisions on significant issues and the democratic structure of the FSA’s community-owned club model provides for supporters to be given a vote on such crucial issues. 

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