Whose game is it? Football governance through the eyes of the supporters [Paper #3: Are supporters getting involved in football governance?]

2015-11-27T10:13:25Z (GMT) by Borja Garcia-Garcia Joanna Welford
The first two policy papers in this series explored the demand for further regulation of football from supporters. Taken together, they conclude that supporters have an acute understanding of the problems with current football governance and are highly critical of how it is governed at the top level. A number of suggestions were made to address the problems highlighted including reform, government intervention and increased supporter involvement. This paper explores the latter point in more detail. If supporters are to be more involved in football governance – and there has been a recent policy focus on the way that this could improve football governance – what form might this take? Are supporters seeking out opportunities to involve themselves in football governance, at their clubs or elsewhere? Calling for greater supporter involvement is an important step, but it is vital to gain a greater understanding of how supporters feel about this. Policy recommendations in the area (DCMS 2011, 2013) very much focus on the role of supporter trusts and the work of Supporters Direct. However, one of the findings is that there is a variety of avenues through which supporters would like to be involved with football, not necessarily club ownership via a supporters trust., This paper analyses the supporters’ extent of engagement with football governance themselves, and the dynamics around this. It further investigates the scope for supporter engagement and the potential barriers that fans see to their involvement by current governance structures. The following paper in the series – Policy Paper #4 – focuses exclusively on club ownership and supporter trusts.