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The report is the result of a study commissioned by UEFA to investigate the feasibility of extending the work undertaken by Supporters Direct within the UK across the remainder of UEFA’s members associations.
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?