PtG Article 07.11.2012

Improving football governance through fan involvement

Today fan organisation Supporters Direct Europe (SD Europe) presents its position paper The Heart of the Game –why supporters are vital to improving governance in football at an event taking place in the European Parliament in Brussels hosted by Ivo Belet, Belgian MEP.

The position paper, which is SD Europe’s first of the kind, presents the organisation’s key policy positions and sets out recommendations on how to create a better European football through supporter ownership and involvement.

The paper is aimed at football governing bodies and public authorities and offers a set of recommendations covering six different aspects of European football:

  • Improving governance in European football- the paper recommends for the EU to set guidelines for good governance and that funding should be dependent on their implementation, and for the financial fair play rules to extended to all leagues
  • Improving the financial sustainability of football- the paper recommends more inclusive and accountable decision-making structures and that clubs distribute their income to initiate better financial policies and good governance
  • Improving the social function of sport in Europe- SD Europe invites both EU institutions, member states and football governing bodies to promote democracy, active citizens and grassroots sport
  • Improving transfer operations- transfer operations should be more transparent, possibly through legislation
  • Improving the fight against match-fixing- SD Europe recommends to include fans in the active fight against match-fixing and improve governance in football clubs through supporter involvement
  • Reducing discrimination and violence- the paper recommends agencies to cooperate with fans and support organisations such as Fare network and Centre for Access to Football in Europe (CAFÉ)

In addition to the above recommendations, SD Europe’s paper also looks into how supporter ownership and involvement can be nourished and how the EU can help to achieve a stronger fan participation in the governance of football clubs.

According to the paper, fan involvement can be enhanced by allocating funds for expanding supporters’ networks and by formalising the structured involvement of fans e.g. by fan representation on boards.

Funding should only be available to organisations that live up to specific criteria for good governance. SD Europe also calls for more research into the social value of sport. Present at today's event will be members of the European Parliament, Council and Commission as will other stakeholders such as UEFA and national associations and leagues.Read the full position paper

Read the summary

More about Supporters Direct Europe