As our project continues to develop, we’re going to put together a library of audio, video, and written resources, that will be free to access.
In 2012, SD Europe published a position paper, 'The Heart of the Game: Why Supporters are Vital to Improving Football Governance', in order to set out our position and evidence of how supporter involvement and ownership can help improve European football and deliver European values and EU aims.
Helping to improve football’s governance and addressing financial instability are vital, not only in improving sport but addressing key issues in Europe: strengthening democracy and citizenship, building cooperation and dialogue, and improving communities.
This paper sets out how we think those issues are best addressed.
Between March 2012 and June 2013 SD Europe, along with eight supporters’ organisations, took part in a project funded by the European Commission. The project, entitled ‘Improving Football Governance through Supporter Involvement and Community Ownership’, was in the area of good governance in sport and run under the Preparatory Action in the Field of Sport (EAC/18/2011).
The project followed the development of a European-wide network of supporters’ organisations trying to be involved in the decision-making process at their clubs, and the support given to them by SD Europe.
The outcomes of the project include the production of a 'toolkit' by each partner for their own country: Belgium, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Portugal, Spain and Sweden. These documents will provide a key resource for supporters’ organisations and member-owned clubs in the future.
The full report is available in English.
In the European Sports Model, supporters watch players play for clubs, who compete in national leagues and cups and the top clubs in each country play cross-border matches in competitions organised by UEFA. The creation of the club, the league and the national association as the basic units of spectator football is a shared inheritance across the continent that gives a vital starting point. The sheer passion that exists for football across Europe is another commonality.
In assessing the feasibility of SD Europe, it was necessary to answer several related questions. Supporters Trusts in the UK are a grassroots movement, and so the priority was to look at grassroots supporters' groups and see what their stance was on issues relating to ownership and governance. Did they want to become involved? Had they tried to become involved? What support did they need?
The next issues were – assuming a desire existed – how could supporters become involved? Looking at their clubs, were they able to become formally involved in ownership and governance, and how could they go about that? Did provision exist for them to buy shares or did national legislation or football regulations enable them to become involved as of right without reference to shareholdings?