Monday, August 01, 2011

In support of supporters' trusts

Encouraging news for NUST in last week's report on football governance published by the Culture, Media and Sport Committee, which (among other things) proposed "amending the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 to recognise the special nature of supporters' trusts and help them overcome the significant legal and bureaucratic hurdles they face when raising funding".

In the report the Committee also expressed concern over the inconsistent application of the "fit and proper persons" test for prospective club owners, and the proposed legal change certainly promotes an alternative model: fans as stakeholders. No reaction to the news on the NUST website as yet, but it must surely be welcomed.

While I'd hope that the old adage where there's a will there's a way might be borne out, it's likely that political stumbling blocks, entrenched conservatism within the corridors of power and the overriding influence of big business will mean that the report's recommendations, like many previous attempts to address the issues, will be largely dismissed. It's NUST's responsibility - and that of other supporters' trusts - to capitalise on this governmental endorsement for reform and help to put the footballing authorities and clubs under greater pressure so that the proposals cannot simply be ignored.

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