Communities get help to take over sports clubs

Web keith lasley supporters direct scotland

Captain of Scottish Premiership club Motherwell FC Keith Lasley helped launch Club Development Scotland. Motherwell FC is now transitioning to supporter ownership under.

New body will help groups take over and run sports clubs for the benefits of their communities

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13th April 2016 by Paul Cardwell 0 Comments

Community groups looking to get involved in the running of any kind of sports team are to be offered legal, financial and governance support to do so.

Groups attempting to become more involved in anything from grassroots athletics teams or running a professional football club can now get free advice, information and access to business experts from the newly formed Club Development Scotland (CDS).

Set up by Supporters Direct Scotland (SDS), which itself was set up in 2002 to make football clubs more sustainable through supporters involvement and community ownership, CDS will help commuity groups transition clubs from companies into third sector organisations that deliver social and community benefit.

Partnerships with the Institute of Directors and legal firm DWF will also see dedicated professional support offered in areas including fundraising, due diligence and how to restructure businesses.

Head of SDS Andrew Jenkin said the move was a “game changer” as SDS branched out to work with clubs at all levels of sport in Scotland.

Communities get help to take over sports clubsAndrew Jenkin

Our approach reflects how much sport in Scotland has changed in recent years

“Supporters Direct Scotland is quickly evolving with a recognition that every club at every level has a different requirement in terms of supporter involvement, and therefore different solutions are needed,” he said.

“We’ll use our own expertise, but importantly we’ll also be guided by respected and experienced professional services practitioners. Our approach reflects how much sport in Scotland has changed in recent years.”

Club Development Scotland was formed after a recommendation of a working group into supporter involvement in football clubs.

The biggest fundamental change is SDS will be more flexible in its approach towards who it offers support to and will no longer restrict itself to just community benefit societies, instead including businesses, and different types of constituted community groups.

Jenkins added: “Under our previous strategy, Supporters Direct Scotland didn’t engaged with these set-ups as much as we should.

“As well as representing this change through the widening of our membership, and lifting restrictions on the type of groups involved, we’re also proving direct support to newer organisations. For example, Rangers First and the Rangers Supporters Trust, who are expected to form a single membership group which will be uniquely structured are receiving specific support from us.”