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The SD Scotland Index – Behind the Goals Podcast

Date: 9th April 2018

On this week’s Behind the Goals Scotland podcast, we shine a light on the SD Scotland Index, our publication highlighting the governance and ownership of clubs in Scotland.

The SD Scotland index builds on a Working Group Report on Supporter Involvement in Football Clubs (made up of the SFA, SPFL, Supporters Direct Scotland, Scottish Government and Sportscotland) which provided recommendations on reducing barriers to further involving fans within their clubs.

Some of these recommendations were ultimately not accepted or pursued by clubs, but are still regarded by SD Scotland as good practice, and have been used as the basis for the SD Scotland Index.

The report recommended the introduction of an annual independently assessed Supporter Involvement Award which would highlight good work being carried out by clubs around the areas of involving supporters within the governance and ownership of clubs. This Index seeks to build upon that recommendation by measuring clubs’ progress with some of the other recommendations within the report – specifically:

  • All clubs should give consideration as to the most appropriate structures and other informal mechanisms through which to ensure supporter involvement in their governance (Recommendation 2.3)
  • For all Board positions, clubs should provide: the names of directors; their involvement with the club; and the reasoning for their appointment. This information should be made available on the club’s website and communicated directly to its recognised supporter groupings. (Recommendation  2.6)
  • Clubs should provide information annually on the number of board meetings held and on the number of directors attending. (Recommendation  2.7)
  • To participate in the Scottish Professional Football League, a club must declare to the SPFL and to the SFA, and publish, the identity of the ultimate beneficial owner of the club. Should that owner be a trust, the club must disclose the ultimate beneficiaries of the trust and the name of the trustees. (Recommendation 3.1)

With this, the Index measures the areas of clubs’ Engagement and Transparency in a number of areas:

  • Engagement… do the club:
  • have a Supporter Representative?
  • have a Supporter Liaison Officer?
  • engage in Structured Dialogue with supporters? (with this we mean do the club have a structured means through which they engage and involve supporters within the club’s governance – i.e. quarterly meetings with a Supporters Trust?)
  • Transparency… do the club:
    –publish financial data on their website?
  • list the directors of the club?
  • provide details of who owns the club?
  • provide information on the number of board meetings held, and on the number of directors attending?

The index also examines the breakdown of ownership of SPFL clubs. This has been inspired by the work of the Raith Rovers Supporters Trust who have provided updates on ‘Who Owns What?’ at the club for a number of years.

The information gathered within this document has been sourced through publicly accessible records such as Companies House and clubs’ websites. Additionally, we spoke to supporter group representatives for clarification and confirmation of the details attained.

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