Special report: Supporter share schemes - can they deliver?
14 September 2021
Supporter share schemes are likely to feature heavily in English football over coming years, with a government review considering technical detail and Manchester United promising “the biggest fans ownership scheme in world sport.”
Technological advances have brought share schemes – previously the preserve of the biggest clubs and stock market listings – into the hands of even the smallest clubs.
Fintech CEO: “The ongoing costs are modest, and it provides the opportunity to transform a business financially, and also its relationship with its fans.”
Chairman who ran successful supporter share issue: “I think a lot a lot of it was driven by an emotional investment in what we're trying to achieve…There's a bit of a kind of halo effect, isn't there?”
In a tumultuous year for English football, which has seen a wide-ranging government review into the game’s governance, as well as conciliary action by clubs battered by the Super League backlash, one of the most lasting consequences may be a fundamental change in the ownership of clubs.
Supporter share schemes have been around since the 1980s, with supporters buying into share issues – usually in public listings of large football clubs.
But now clubs, large and small, are looking at alternative schemes to incorporate supporter shareholders into ownership structures.
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