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September 29, 2009

AS part of our good goveranance theme, here are two very relevant quotes (shown below) on the subject.

“Let’s recognise supporters as an essential part of the identity of clubs.”
Michel Platini, election programme, The Future of UEFA

“In an ideal world football clubs would be legally structured and governed in ways that prioritise sporting objectives above financial aspects. Moreover, all clubs would be controlled and run by their members – e.g. supporters – according to democratic principles.”
UEFA, strategy document

It has been commented that, in many countries, fans already have power. In some countries – notably Germany – fans already hold formal power by virtue of the clubs being organised as members’ associations.

However, the actual participation in the governance of the clubs by fans varies and large-scale mass participation is not the norm. The crucial point here is not the active number of fans involved and it is unrealistic to expect supporters to be more interested in the governance of the club than the performance of the team or the progress on the field.

Fans are aware when the governance at the club needs improvement in order to make the team perform better; an excellent example here is Barcelona.

For many years, fans had campaigned for a change to the governance of the club, and linked poor governance to poor financial management, which they argued underlay poor performance on the field. The issue was not that being a members’ association was a way of guaranteeing success; football is a competitive game and thus outcomes are always in flux.  And the advantage of Barcelona’s governance was that supporters could act to make changes to the governance at their club.

Someday, all football clubs will be run this way!

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