A ‘Fans’ Manifesto’ for the future of Scottish football, crowd-sourced from a survey of 10,000 supporters, has been presented at an event in the Scottish Parliament on Thursday afternoon.
The Manifesto, Transforming Scottish Football, is now available online, and the print edition will be published next week. It seeks to re-energize the way the game is structured, run, owned, organized, promoted, reported and financed in Scotland, with supporter involvement at every level.
Calls for a fresh ‘national conversation’ about renewing, reforming and reclaiming the game for fans and communities have been backed by former Scottish first minister Henry McLeish and Lothians MSP Alison Johnstone, among others.
The Manifesto has been produced by the Scottish Football Supporters Association (SFSA), which launched less than a year ago, already has a membership of nearly 50,000 supporters, and has received cross-party support.
“SFSA is not only Scotland’s first independent national fans alliance, it also enables Scottish fans to participate in the official European supporters’ network for the first time,” says CEO Paul Goodwin, who has offered practical support to a range of clubs entering community ownership or undergoing transition in recent years.
The Manifesto sets out nine broad, interlocking proposals. It contains some ambitious ideas: football clubs as hubs of community wellbeing and entertainment; establishing a fans’ bank, expanding community ownership, larger leagues and more competition, fairer finance, much more diversity and participation in the governing bodies, and major improvements to supporter experience at games.
Simon Barrow, chair of the Scottish Football Supporters Association, added: “This Manifesto sets out the most sweeping agenda for regenerating Scottish football yet seen. We are calling on the football authorities, clubs, sponsors and all who have a stake in our national game to join a ‘big conversation’ about real change for the future of our game.
“The message of the Fans Manifesto is clear. Despite the challenges we face, fans believe in Scottish football – and want to be part of making it thriving, entertaining and sustainable once more.”