English football going German and embracing fan ownership

Frank Dalleres
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ENGLISH football is set for a steep rise in the number of clubs adopting fan-owned structures, according to a new study.

Teams in financial difficulties are particularly likely to turn to the community interest company (CIC) model, report insolvency experts Begbies Traynor.

Darlington, Eastbourne and Scottish side Stenhousemuir are among those to embrace increased supporter input, says Gerald Krasner, the former Leeds United chairman and now partner at Begbies Traynor.

“Weaker clubs just staggering through the season are now locked into an inevitable downward spiral, and most won’t attract a foreign billionaire to bankroll them out of their financial mess,” he said.

“There is no doubt that the trickle of clubs that have become majority owned by the fans here in England will become a steady flow over the coming few seasons.”

Barcelona and Real Madrid are perhaps the most famous fan-owned clubs, while the recent success of Bundesliga teams has also shown the model in a favourable light.

The Red Flag Alert Football Distress report blames meagre attendance growth and rising costs for extreme difficulties afflicting six of the 72 Football League clubs.