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Holyrood committee agree to Community Empowerment Bill amendments

Date: 18th March 2015

Forthbank Stadium

Holyrood’s Local Government Committee have unanimously agreed to proposals put forward by the Green Party to amend the Community Empowerment Bill to include football clubs. Green MSP Alison Johnstone had put forward the proposed changes which were discussed this morning.

The Bill sets out plans to expand community right-to-buy to public sector land and buildings, and the Greens want the bill to be extended to include clubs’ membership shares. Ms Johnstone said the current model of ownership has led to disaster for several clubs.

A survey by the Greens received more than 250 replies from football supporters and members of fans’ trusts, with the majority backing the proposals; 95% supported giving supporters first refusal on buying their clubs if they are for sale or going into administration.

Ms Johnstone said: “You don’t need to be a football fan to know that Scottish football lurches from crisis to crisis, and that the current model of ownership has led to disaster at clubs from Gretna to Hearts.

“You also only need to look at Germany, where almost all clubs are fan-owned, to see how well this model can work.

“But it’s not just about fans stepping in to save their clubs once they’ve fallen into administration.

“There are many well-run Scottish clubs in private hands, but those owners come and go, and when they go, we want to see fans have the first right of refusal.

“Where there’s a committed and well-organised group of fans with strong support on the terraces for a takeover, we want them to have the power to do so.”

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