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Supporters Direct Survey – Results

February 7, 2012

Supporters Direct Scotland has published the results of the Scottish Football Supporters Survey 2011 with a clear view that fans want:

  • bigger Scottish football leagues, especially in the SPL
  • a wider distribution of income and increased competition
  • a national fans organisation to give them a greater say at national level
  • a football season to reflect our climate and to make it more fan-friendly

The Full Results presentation can be downloaded here.

Commenting on the overall results, Supporters Direct Scotland’s Council chair, Alan Harris said: “Scottish football fans have spoken loud and clear: the time has come to listen to our views and work towards consensus for the future direction of the game. For the second year running, the biggest survey of fans is telling us: Scottish football needs larger leagues, a fairer distribution of TV revenues and the creation of one voice for football fans to represent them.”

On bigger leagues

  • 9 out 10 fans want a league larger than the current set up.
  • Three quarters of fans want a 16 or 18 team league with nearly half of all respondents preferring a 16 team league set up.
  • 81% of Old Firm fans support a league bigger than current set up
  • Even when it was explained that the SPL justifies smaller leagues so that there at least 4 Old Firm matches per season, respondents remained solid in their support for larger leagues with a 16 team set up the preferred option of 45% of fans (compared to 49% before mention of TV revenues).

Commenting on these statistics, SDS Council Chair Alan Harris stated: “Fans from across the length and breadth of Scotland are clearly speaking with one voice when it comes to the future shape of football leagues. Support for the status quo or an even smaller SPL is dwarfed by the overwhelming desire of supporters for larger leagues. I hope the SPL and SFL will think long and hard about the views of fans and sit down to build a consensus for the future of league football in Scotland.”

Fairer distribution drives competition, leads to increased attendance

  • Two-thirds of fans stated that they would attend more regularly if there was more competition
  • Greater sharing of central revenue is likely to increase competition according to 83% of respondents.

Alan Harris added: “Fans are well aware of the commercial motives of SPL restructuring but remain largely unconvinced by the SPL’s arguments. Fans are telling us that a more equal distribution of TV revenues is good for the game, and in the longer term, more likely to bring fans back to the terraces.”

On supporter representation

Scottish football supporters are almost unanimous in their views when it comes to their belief that fans should be consulted on decisions to be taken about Scottish football. Four out of five Scottish football fans want a national football supporters’ organisation, like the proposed new Scottish Football Supporters Network, to represent their views to Governments, football authorities and within wider civic Scotland.

  • More than half of respondents want supporter representation on SPL/SFL and SFA committees
  • More than a third of respondents want supporter representation in the media, speaking up for fans first and foremost
  • Nearly four out of five fans want supporter representation on football club boards
  • The top three priorities for the SFSN are: representing supporters’ views to Government and football authorities; campaigning for improved rights for fans; and campaigning for better facilities at matches

Commenting on the strong support for a united ‘voice of the fans’, Alan Harris stated: “As someone who has long-held the view that there should be greater supporter involvement in club football, I am not surprised that there is strong demand for the new Scottish Football Supporters Network to speak up for football fans in Scotland, regardless of what team you support. When it comes to some of the great issues of the day, football fans of all colours have more in common than that with which they disagree. It’s time for supporters to unite as one voice of the fans so that governments and football authorities sit up and take notice. Supporters Direct Scotland is delighted to be in a position to lead the development of the Scottish Football Supporters Network knowing that we have the support of the vast majority of fans.

“We are ready to launch the Scottish Football Supporters Network and build on the work that Supporters Direct Scotland has already done, for example at meetings of the Joint Action Group, on behalf of ordinary football fans everywhere. With a sense of priorities from supporters, we can move forward to represent and campaign on the issues that matter for football fans. This is an exciting development for Scottish football and I know we all look forward to making the SFSN a huge success.”

On season starts and winter closedown

Supporters have reinforced in the survey that the traditional football season is ripe for change:

  • Support for an earlier start to the season is 3 to 1 in favour of change
  • Nearly two-thirds of fans support a winter break
  • A clear majority of fans favour shifting the season to summer months with less than a third directly opposed to a season from e.g. March to November

Alan Harris commented on the figures, saying: “Whatever way you look at the season structures, the vast majority of fans are looking for change. It’s time for Scottish football to recognise this and put the fans first. A season with an earlier league start in July and a Winter break could bring out more supporters.”

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