New voice for sports supporters with SD and FSF merger

The Unified Football Supporters' Organisation aims to create a stronger single voice for fans

Supporters Direct (SD) and the Football Supporters’ Federation (FSF) have finalised the details of their merger into the Unified Football Supporters’ Organisation Limited (UFSO).

SD acted as the umbrella body for supporters’ trusts while FSF represented football fans in England and Wales. The merger was given the initial go ahead at the two organisation’s AGMs in July, with the aim of creating a stronger supporters organisation that would speak with a single voice. The new apex will be set up as a mutual in the form of a company limited by guarantee. The interim board recommended that it becomes a community benefit society by the time of the first AGM next summer.

On 22 November, members of SD voted to transfer the assets of the organisation to the new Unified Football Supporters’ Organisation. A total of 57 full members (66%) voted at the meeting, with 53 votes in favour, two abstentions and two against.

The UFSO board will be chaired by FSF chair Marcolm Clarke. SD chair Tom Greatrex was elected vice chair of the new organisation. SD members will also be admitted as members of the new society.

“Today marks a historic day for the fan movement,” said Mr Clarke. “As one unified organisation we are now in a perfect position to represent supporter interests and lobby for the changes in the game which fans are desperate to see.”

Mr Greatrex added: “Today brought together the skills, expertise and record of two excellent organisations. It’s an exciting time and every supporter can play an important part to ensure fans are at the vanguard of positive change within football.”

Related: Supporters Direct to merge with the Football Supporters Federation

The new body will be managed by Kevin Miles, who was appointed chief executive earlier this month. He will start in this position in January 2019 and work with the board to set up a new staffing structure, drawing on the collective expertise and experience from both predecessor organisations.

The organisation will feature a National Council of members, which includes fan representatives from clubs at Premier League, Championship, League One and League Two, and National Game (non-league) level, six individual fans and specially-assigned representatives from supporter-owned clubs and Fans for Diversity.

The chair and vice chair positions will be voted on directly by the affiliate, associate and individual members, while the remaining board members are decided by council members.

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