With a number of clubs in Scotland moving firmly towards community ownership in recent years, SD Scotland this week launched a new online survey to explore how the movement could be better supported financially.
One of the biggest barriers that often prevents supporters from taking outright control of – or a shareholding within – their football club is funding, and the survey is the initial step in exploring whether a social investment fund offering low-interest capital to supporters trusts could be one possible solution to the issue.
The survey asks supporters and club officials if they are interested in having fans secure a stake in their club, how much interest they’d be willing to pay to secure additional capital and how such a fund could be financed. One of the current proposals for the fund would see groups applying for the funding needing to demonstrate how the finance would enable them to delivery significant benefits to their wider community as well as the football club – a key element to any social investment initiative.
“Since SD Scotland started, the barriers community ownership has faced has often been supporter groups’ access capital – often in short periods of time,” Head of SD Scotland, Andrew Jenkins, said. “While mechanisms such as community shares have become a useful tool for raising money from respective memberships and communities, there’s still a gap preventing greater community ownership of clubs and their development.
“This research will allow us to map out how we can establish a Fund for groups who have raised some funding, but need a more to make it a reality. Scotland is already ahead of the curve in terms of sport clubs at all levels essentially acting as social enterprises that are tackling societial issues through their activities and we aim to enable this further.”
The survey is open until September 17th, after which SD Scotland will compile the results and examine next steps in determining the feasibility of such a social investment fund. For more information and the survey link, visit the SD Scotland website.
Earlier this summer, the 4th annual Fútbol Popular event heard from representatives of Fiare Banca Etica, a co-operative bank that focuses on ethical and social values in funding a range of different social projects, and possibilities around future support for fan-owned clubs in Spain.