SD Europe works with its members, wider network of supporters groups, member-run clubs, partners and key stakeholders in football today in a number of different ways.
Supporters are the heart of game, and are increasingly seeking influence within club’s decision-making processes. SD Europe works with supporters groups across Europe and further afield to establish and maintain a strong voice for fans within the governance structures of their own football clubs, leagues and football associations.
Supporters groups, often known as supporters trusts in some countries, with a ‘Golden Share’ or minority shareholding in their club are also growing in numbers. A ‘Golden Share’ can allow for a veto over traditional items such as the club’s colours, crest or name, while groups with a minority shareholding in their club are often directly represented at board level by a supporter director or person elected to the board on their behalf.
Countries including Germany and Sweden have a 50+1 rule that ensures its members retain control over 50% +1 of the organisation’s shares. Supporters in those countries see this regulation as integral to the fan culture as it adopts a supporter-first rather than a ‘supporter-consumer’ approach. Even without ‘50+1’, member-run clubs exist and are seen as a sustainable and inclusive way to run football across Europe, from Ireland to Israel, and Norway to Italy.
SD Europe has worked with member-run football clubs right from its beginnings in 2007. Our Clubs and Supporters for Better Governance in Football Erasmus+ project (2016-17) supported member-run clubs across three key themes: governance, financial sustainability and member engagement. No matter the size, the challenges faced by member-run clubs today are remarkably similar, and exist too in Africa, the US, South America and Asia.
UEFA & its member associations
SD Europe has been an FSR partner of Uefa since 2007, advocating for the need to have a voice for supporters right at the highest level within football. We also work closely with member associations around the implementation of the supporter liaison officer (SLO) role as well as through the Fan Dialogue stream of Uefa’s HatTrick programme. A number of Uefa’s member associations are involved in our current Erasmus+ projects Fans Matter! and Kick-Off!
SD Europe has worked with the European Commission and European Parliament for many years. Our EU-funded projects have made a significant impact, both in supporting the partners directly involved and by informing subsequent policy and research.
In December 2016, the Takkula Report stated the following: Considers the ownership model whereby club members retain control of the club (through the 50+1 rule) as a good practice in the EU, and invites the Member States, sports governing bodies, national federations and leagues to start a constructive dialogue on, and exchange of, this model;
As part of our remit around the SLO role, SD Europe also works with the Council of Europe on a regular basis and has observers status on the Standing Committee of the European Convention on Spectator Violence (TR-V).