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Bill makes giant leap towards fan ownership

This news post is about 9 years old

​Community empowerment bill will make it easier for fans to buy out their clubs

Amendments contained in the community empowerment bill will hand football fans the fans the power to buy their club.

The bill, expected to pass through parliament on Wednesday contains proposals to give fans' groups first refusal to buy their club should it be put up for sale.

MSPs agreed to amend the bill in March to include the proposals, though the fine details are yet to be ironed out by ministers.

It's time for supporters to be put at the heart of the game

Green MSP Alison Johnston,e who supported the amendment, said: "Over the years, far too many fans of Scottish football have had to watch from the sidelines as their clubs excluded them from decision-making, as clubs were spectacularly mismanaged, and as far too many clubs fell into administration.

"It's time for supporters to be put at the heart of the game, and a fans' right to buy is essential for that. While a club is in good hands, as many are, this right to buy would never be used, but even at those clubs, fans know good owners come and go.

"Fans will always be the best long-term trustees of a club's interests, and now, for the first time, ministers will have the powers to bring in that crucial right to buy. It's not good enough for fans to be called on only when a club has gone bust.

"I therefore welcome the Scottish Government's agreement that these powers should be delivered, and I am also grateful to Labour and Liberal Democrat MSPs for their support for a fans' right to buy during this process."

The Scottish Greens want to see the bill go further and allow loans or grants to be made available to fan groups to make it easier for them to buy their clubs.

Hearts and Dunfermline are two high-profile examples of community owned success stories which ministers are eager to emulate through the legislation.