Promotion of community-ownership is embedded within our Mission Statement and something that we hold very dear.
But when we talk about supporter/community ownership what do we mean?
- A minimum of 50% +1 of the voting rights of the club to be controlled collectively by a democratic entity which has an open and inclusive membership based on one member, one vote with no substantial barriers to participation as a voting member.
- Profits are reinvested back into the club as opposed to being distributed to shareholders.
- The club is committed to running as a sustainable business.
A club owned by its community has the potential to develop deeper longer term partnerships, particularly local authorities who historically favour this model, and can attract a different type of investment and utilise a different type of finance.
Community-owned clubs offer greater protection and transparency within their constitution, which appeals to partners, funders, and sponsors. Giving people the chance to own a club can increase their connection with it, so people share the responsibility of sustaining ‘their’ club unlocking more volunteers and participation. If supporters know that the money they spend will be reinvested in the club, they are more likely to spend or donate more.
That isn’t to say there aren’t challenges to be overcome. For starters, a club can only be big as the community willing to support it and although the ownership is shared amongst the fan base not everyone can be involved in every decision. Powers will need to be delegated to the club board and employees, as well as other individuals or groups who are tasked with certain roles.
Cashflow in any small business is king. Having the ability to fall back on wealthy individuals to plug short-term gaps such as games being called off might not be possible or desirable and the club will need to adopt a different strategy to many of their competitors when it comes to managing money.
- If you would like to hear about more of this area of work email the FSA’s Andy Walsh: firstname.lastname@example.org