Football supporters want a greater stake in their clubs, according to Supporters Direct.
The fans’ trust network commissioned a poll that found 38% of people said fans should be entitled by football regulation to have a role in the ownership of their football club.
As part of the poll, ICM Research conducted two surveys in April and July, each with a random sample of around 2,000 adults from across the UK. Over 40% of these were English football fans.
The poll also reveals that almost 40% of football fans in England back the Supporters Direct campaign for major reform in football. It argues that football rules need to change to enable more supporters to own their clubs. Supporters Direct helps fans set up supporters’ trusts to gain influence in the running and ownership of their clubs.
According to the same poll, only 18% of fans believe their clubs are financially well run, wile 77% of them think supporters should be formally consulted on any changes relating to their football club.
In a video message addressed to delegates at the Supporters Summit last month, chair of the Football Association, Greg Dyke admitted that fans were under-represented within their clubs.
The ICM research poll shows that 44% of fans agree that “football is broken” and that “the FA needs to intervene to fix it”. Moreover, 49% of those taking part in the poll agreed that supporters and their representatives should be involved in the running of football.
Commenting on the results of the poll, Robin Osterley, chief executive of Supporters Direct, said: “This definitive poll – the most comprehensive ever undertaken – of the supporters of English football clubs about how they view the running of the game, shows irrefutably that the average fan does care that their clubs are run badly; that they do want to see the FA get control and run it in the interests of all, not just a minority of clubs or officials at the top; and that they believe that part of that should mean a role in the ownership of their clubs.”
Fans were also in favour of more involvement of football clubs in their local communities. Around 54% of fans surveyed agreed that “football clubs should be run as a combination of a community business that balance results on the pitch with work in the local community.
“We want this to be a signal to all those who share the same views. Whether those in the game’s governing bodies; politicians frustrated at the slow pace of reform that they have laid out again and again; or those in grassroots football suffering from poor decisions a local level. There is now a critical mass of people who want change, and we can, working together, achieve that. This is an opportunity that we must seize,” added Mr Osterley.
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