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supporters direct scotland january e-mag - #3 www.scottishfans.org

inside: - Colour of our scarves - fundraise for your trust - right to buy for fans - could rangers be fan owned?


OUR Mission sTATEMENT, “TO PROMOTE SUSTAINABLE SPECTATOR SPORTS CLUBS BASED ON SUPPORTERS’ INVOLVEMENT AND COMMUNITY OWNERSHIP” HAS BEEN OUR GUIDING PRINCIPLE SINCE WE WERE ESTABLISHED IN SCOTLAND IN 2002. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION ON SUPPORTERS DIRECT SCOTLAND, PLEASE VISIT US AT: ROOM 4, BETA HOUSE, INNOVATION PARK, UNIVERSITY OF STIRLING STIRLING, FK9 4NF T: 01786 845 606 OR CONNECT WITH US THROUGH: FACEBOOK.COM/SCOTTISHFANS TWITTER.COM/SCOTTISHFANS


the year that was 2013 Head of sds notes

The festive period now seems like a long time ago and at Supporters Direct Scotland we are already gearing up for what is a very busy start to the year. On 26th January we had 17 Trusts represented as well as the Well Society and the Foundation of Hearts at our Strategy Day at Forthbank Stadium. It was really encouraging to see so much interaction between the various representatives, both in the room and during the networking time. January has already seen a positive start to our year, with the launch of the consulting paper by the Green Party in Scotland who have called - as part of ‘The Land Reform Bill’ - for supporters to have the right to buy their clubs. We were involved in the initial discussions and we would encourage all our supporters to lobby your MSP’s to say that

you support this ground breaking initiative. As part of our plans to crank up interest in this we are launching a week of activity celebrating community ownership at clubs in Scotland. We currently have 4 clubs owned and run by their communities and we have real hope that by the start of the next season that might reach up to 8 clubs. Get involved and be part of an amazing revolution in Scottish Football which will result in fans having a far bigger part to play in how the game is governed in the future. So please remember to be involved and if you are a social media fan help us get the hashtag #ownyourclub as much coverage as you can.

We currently have 4 clubs owned and run by

their communities and we have real hope that by the start of the next season that might reach up to 8 clubs

We will also be getting out and about to as many games as we can and will be working to set up some roadshows with the SFA this year. We would also remind you that as the season ends we will have a fans conference which every fan of every club will be invited to participate. Please continue to follow us and feel free to contact myself or any of the staff if you want to discuss anything that is important to you as a fan. Looking forward to working with you in the months ahead

Paul Goodwin Head of Supporters Direct Scotland


family football sds council chairman’s notes

Sunday 26 January 2014 was a big date in the Bone Household, not because it was my son's birthday but because there was a Supporters Direct Scotland National Meeting in Stirling. This was the second Sunday meeting in our new hub, Stirling, and the first fell on Mrs. Bone's Birthday. Family.

Begbie-Traynors view that Community Ownership is a viable option. Suddenly, we had a group of fans from various Trusts almost acting as one: coming together to discuss the future and willing to share experiences of very recent and current seismic events at their clubs. Nationally, Supporters Direct Scotland is making great strides. What we need to remember though is that we have to remain focused at a local level: perhaps there is no 'trust - club' interaction at your club or your club is doing well and every thing is 'going great'. What we need you to do in that case is use the advances of the organisation Nationally, to promote your own trusts endeavour locally. After all we all share the common vision of a Democratic, Transparent and Sustainable Game. The staff at Supporters Direct Scotland are here to help you, you can also help us.

Any Supporters Direct gathering is valuable, but this one felt different. We had Michael, Mark and Andrew set the scene for the day, followed by Paul introducing your Council's funding Strategy for 2015 and beyond. Then we had two excellent presentations from the guys at Hearts and Dunfermline telling their stories of their clubs predicaments, and readily answering thought provoking questions throughout. The day followed on from the resent National news of the Green Party advocating extending the 'Right to buy' legislation to include Supporters Trusts with a Recently, i've started attendframework for inclusion, and ing Junior Football matches,

this started when my Trust, The Honest Men Trust were asked to help the local team Whitletts Victoria when they lost the use of their sub-letted home ground. They wanted to tap into the knowledge that we had accrued over ten years and now, two years later, find themselves transformed into a properly constituted organisation with plans to return to their own specific community, and a place in the last 16 of the Scottish Junior Cup for the first time in decades. What this time allowed us to see was another group of football people, in our very own community who were determined to provide a football environment for players and fans at a completely different level to the senior game. If your Senior team are away on a long trek, I'd encourage you to visit your local junior team, introduce your Trust and share experience / knowledge with people who like us, love their football. Family.


Representatives from 16 various supporters trusts and fan groups attended the Supporters Direct Scotland strategy day in which SDS outlined the current situation of the fan ownership movement and their intended involvement in its future growth.

strategy day 26th jan ‘14

The 26th of January saw representatives of 16 different supporter trusts and fan groups come together for the Supporters Direct Scotland Strategy Day. The event, held at Forthbank Stadium, home of Scotland’s first league club to be 100% owned by its supporters Stirling Albion, consisted of a presentation from Head of Supporters Direct Scotland Paul Goodwin on the organisation’s future in Scotland. Within the presentation, he outlined the present situation and position of the

community ownership movement within the country and how he envisaged the role of Supporters Direct Scotland in the movement’s future direction while asking for input and engagement with attendees and members of the organisation. His presentation was followed by a talk from Henry Sneddon and Calum Robertson from the Foundation of Hearts group who are currently the preferred bidders for the Tynecastle club. From a group poised to take control of a club and convert it to ‘community owned’, the event was concluded by Drew Main from Pars United, Dunfermline Athletic’s fan centric owners. Both presentations told their respective tales of

taking a club on the brink of liquidation to saving it and providing not only injections of cash, but optimism and community involvement. Attendees were encourage to engage, participate and ask questions for their own various aspirations for fan and community ownership and involvement at their respective clubs. Supporters Direct Scotland would like to thank both Pars United and the Foundation of Hearts for their presentations in which they shared their experience and opinions on best practice for the benefit of all in attendance.


at Scottish clubs including Clyde FC and Stirling Albion." While she said the Community Empowerment Bill was "headed in the right direction", she added that it "should go further". She added: "We know these plans are ambitious, but we hope to secure Scottish Government support for the principle of fan ownership, and we will seek to work with ministers to ensure the most practical and effective legislation possible."

right to buy Football fans could be given first right of refusal to buy their clubs under plans being put forward by the Scottish Greens. Green Party sport spokeswoman Alison Johnstone said fans’ trusts were “most likely to be the most responsible and most successful owners for their clubs in the long term”. She added that clubs such as footballing giants Bayern Munich in Germany showed how well fan ownership could work. The Green Party wants the rightto-buy principle that was established during rural land reforms to be extended to help supporters of football clubs to buy them. The Scottish Government's Community Empowerment (Scotland) Bill already sets out plans to expand the community right to buy, with Ms Johnstone bringing forward amendments to the Bill. One amendment she is proposing would extend the scope of the Bill beyond land and physical assets, to include clubs' membership shares.

Supporters Direct Scotland, which promotes fans' involvement and community ownership for clubs, welcomed the proposThe party also plans measures als. to empower fans' trusts, including giving them the first right of Paul Goodwin, the group's head, refusal if their club comes up for said: "Community and fan ownsale, and making them eligible ership must not be seen simply for funding support from the as a last resort; but as a viable Scottish Government and sustainable route for clubs to adopt. There are of course Fans' trusts should also be able recent high-profile, and impresto buy a proportion of the shares sive, examples of supporters and in a club, if they cannot afford the communities coming together full value, the Greens propose. effectively to save their clubs at a time of extreme difficulty, but Ms Johnstone said: "Too many those are not the only circumScottish football fans have gone stances when fan ownership is through painful cycles of boom appropriate. and bust at their clubs, where irresponsible owners run up un- "There are many other clubs sustainable debts in the pursuit who have either moved into, or of short-term glory, or even sim- are progressing towards, a modply fail to pay their taxes. el of increased community and fan involvement in their clubs "Hearts, Rangers and Dunfer- without the spectre of doom mline supporters are just the staring them in the face. At this most recent to have been put time we are working with Annan through the wringer. Quite sim- Athletic, Ayr United and Motherply, enough is enough." well, which demonstrates what we believe to be a new dawn for The Lothian MSP said: "Greens Scottish football. As we can see believe fans' trusts are most in different parts of the world, likely to be the most respon- this model can bring real and sible and successful owners for positive change to a club and to their clubs in the long term, and the communities they are part they should not be treated just of." like any other buyer for a club. The international examples such as Bayern Munich and Malmo show how well fan ownership can work, just as it already does


#Ownyourclub COMMUNITY OWNERSHIP WEEK 17TH-23RD FEBRUARY

to get involved with their own Supporters Trust and to pursure the idea of further fan involvement in its governance”

Between 17th and 23rd of February, Supporters Direct Scotland will be hosting a weeklong celebration of the community ownership movement across Scotland.

will educate, empower and inspire more supporters trusts and fan groups to become involved in the ownership of clubs for the benefit of their respec- - Paul Goodwin tive communities.

The objective of Community Ownership Week is to promote, celebrate and raise awareness of the Community Ownership of sport clubs and the community ownership movement across Scotland.

“Community Ownership Week gives us a chance to celebrate the movement of supporter involvement and ownership of their clubs. We hope the week will both educate and inspire many fans

At present there are four SPFL clubs under community ownership and we hope the week

Throughout the week a range of events will be held to promote the movement to various stakeholders within the game, including a presentation to MSPs at Holyrood.

If you’d like to get involved in the week in some way please contact Andrew.jenkin@supporters-direct.org


July SDS Cup TBC Supporters Direct Summit

TBC

August

dates for your diary in 2014

Photo Exhibition Holyrood, Edinburgh 8th

FEBRUARY

march

Colour of our Scarves

Colour of our Scarves

Photo Exhibition, Falkirk Dundee and Leith Community Stadium 1st Community Week

Ownership

Throughout Scotland

April Colour of our Scarves Leith

Glasgow 25th

Glasgow 26th

November SDS Council Meeting Glasgow

17th - 23rd SDS Council Meeting

SDS Council Meeting

may SDS Conference Heriot Watt TBC

25th SDS Awards Glasgow 28th


is fan ownership the way forward for rangers? The situation at Rangers Football Club has been troubling me for some time. In fact Rangers’ plight has been concerning me since February 2011 when I was approached by some of the fans organisations who wanted to discuss the concept of community ownership with me. They wanted to hear about my experience at Stirling Albion FC, where I led the campaign to bring the club into community ownership, to see if it could work for their club. As Head of Supporters Direct Scotland, I have been allowed to see first-hand the significant benefits of com-

munity ownership, to work with those clubs who have done it and to support other clubs who are progressing towards it. I have no doubt about the positive impact it can have on Scottish football, and of course the communities they serve. My response, nearly three years ago, was to advise the fans groups to raise funds and to do it fast, as I believed that Rangers being placed into administration represented a significant window of opportunity to buy the club. Of course, as we know, this didn’t happen for a variety of reasons; mostly because for many

years the fans had been divided and ruled by previous owners of the club and had been left without a united voice, forced to pick sides in amongst political infighting. There were so many runners and riders in the frame that it almost felt like an event at Ayr Races. Time has moved on and Rangers have unfortunately continued to be dogged by further challenges at the back end of the administration process. It could have been so different if a credible fans’ bid had been used to galvanised the Ibrox faithful as we have seen at Dundee, Dunfermline Athletic,


Portsmouth and of course at Heart of Midlothian. In these cases the administrators – BDO – felt that the best long term, sustainable business model for the clubs was community ownership. They are of course not alone in their belief that this is the way forward for Scottish Football; just a few months ago Begbies Traynor’s annual report into the health of Scottish Football (see here) made the bold statement that community ownership was the obvious and most desirable route for the survival of our game in Scotland. The key term in all of this is sustainability. Rangers is anything but sustainable yet, which is a concern for everybody. Of course every club needs its fans to be on side to ensure that it has a secure, long term future and that is where there remains a huge opportunity for Rangers’ fans. In sim-

ple terms if Hearts can get 8,000 fans signing up and paying around £20 a month in memberships just to own their club and if Dunfermline Athletic can garner support from nearly 1,000 fans to pay £20 monthly for their youth academy then what could be achieved at Rangers? The simple maths say 20,000 fans at £20 a month would give you £4.8million in a year. That could give Rangers’ fans significant control of the club within that period and ownership of the club in two years. Fanciful? Of course not. A solution to end all the turmoil? Yes, it just might be.

However, it never happened as all he could offer was buying into his debt and real equity or ownership was never an option. In Germany and in many other parts of Europe it is a different matter. Fan involvement comes with a much greater level of responsibility and influence. Fans at clubs such as Schalke 04 in the Bundesliga and Malmö FF in Sweden sign up as members of their club safe in the knowledge that each voice is heard as part of ‘one member, one vote’ structures. Having such authority allows supporters to play a hugely significant role in ensuring the longterm health of their clubs We know that in David and maintaining a positive Murray’s tenure he repeat- presence in their respective edly looked at harnessing communities. the power of fans through share offers and was always Nobody knows what the keen to have a member- short to medium term plans ship scheme. He had peo- are for Rangers; but running ple looking all over Europe to the City to try and raise fito see how it was done and nance having seen the share how it might be adopted. price drop from £0.70 to


around £0.26 is hardly likely to attract significant investment. Having been sold the dream and never likely to receive a dividend from Rangers, you have to ask what would make them want to do it again. With all the high net-worth individuals having had several opportunities to get involved and not doing so, there seems only one place they can turn and that is of course to the fans. No doubt just as you read this there will be white boards and flip charts seeing extensive action over at Ibrox, trying to work out how they can balance the need for generating season ticket revenue, whilst simultaneously raising other working capital. What has happened over the last two years at Rangers is that fans have just waited to see what will happen next. Are they comfortable waiting to see what happens this time? Or is this the time for positive action? Rather

than wondering about season ticket boycotts or stadium protests why not work to together for a result that would revolutionise Scottish Football? Maybe now is the chance to change that mentality where Rangers fans galvanise themselves into one cohesive unit and focus their energy into a campaign that leads the club to where it belongs – their own community. A very simple illustration would suggest that if shares could be bought at the current level of around £0.26, just £4.3m would give the community a 25% stake in the club, with £8.6m reaching the coveted ‘50 plus 1’ status for those who are the club – the fans. We have seen at both Dunfermline Athletic and Hearts that when the opportunity arises to own a club fans will support the concept and so do local businesses who see massive benefits in being associated with such a movement. This is a membership

scheme that delivers more than just a plastic card. Unlike other clubs where there might not be a willing seller, Rangers’ fans can buy this club, own this club and turn it into an institution to be proud of not just in Scotland, but across Europe and the good news is they can do it now. We at Supporters Direct Scotland are more than happy to help Rangers fans and fans of any club deliver a sustainable future and are proud to announce that we will have a week celebrating community ownership from the 17th to the 22nd February where fans of any club can be involved. Our rallying cry for all fans is get yourself into a constituted fans group and come and talk to us. Check out www.scottishfans.com for details of the week of activity.


run a comedy night for your trust Fair Pley are offering Supporters Trusts across Scotland a great opportunity to raise funds for their respective efforts and objectives through a series of Comedy Nights with Phil Differ and Bob Doolally. These shows would provisionally take place at the end of the 13/14 football season.


Last year, with the help of Supporters Direct Scotland, Fair Pley ran four events with the supporters trusts of Dunfermline (Pars Supporters Trust), Hearts (Heart of Midlothian Supporters’ Trust), Stenhousemuir (Warriors Trust) and Ayr (Honest Men Trust) to great effect which each trust raising an average of £2625. Three of the four roadshows were sold out to capacity with an average attendance of 82 people per Trust. The pair are performing at the Glasgow comedy festival this April if you wish to see them in action before planning. Details are here.

nual membership fees ranging from £10-£20 per annum. This represents c.£1K in income for the Trusts. Fundraising interval raffles were also held raising in excess of £3,000. The Pars Trust alone realised £1,400. The Honest Men reported that it had been their most successful fund-raising event held to date and that with 40 non-members attending the event far between 8 -20 hours on exceeded their expec- organising and promoting their event. tations. Two of the Trusts were able to take the income from the licensed bar, with the Pars Trust raising a further £1,200. Inkind support was also offered in relation to provision of PA, lighting and other technical support. The Trusts had groups of volunteer members flyering at home games and a great response was received in relation to the donation of raffle prizes.

The post-event response from all the participating Trusts suggests that an estimated 50% of those attending were not Trust members. All Trusts gave non-members a membership form and three offered a discount on joining on the night. To Our designated condate, 67 new members tact with each Trust rehave joined, with an- ported that they spent

The cost of hosting an event will vary on numerous factors including cost of the venue and promotion, similarly, income will also vary from event to event but feel free to pop us an email with any questions.

Contact Supporters Direct Scotland at andrew.jenkin@supporters-direct.org for more information or confirming interest in hosting a comedy night.


berwick rangers supporters trust It has been twenty or so years since the trust movement began working towards giving supporters a real voice in their clubs and in the sport they love. The movement is only one of a number of aspects that has changed in the game during that period. Many of the changes increasingly marginalised supporters. Su-

per wealthy owners, player power flooding money out of the game as quickly as it goes in, TV dictates and the globalisation of the higher levels mean that the supporter coming through the turnstile is less significant when the balance (unbalanced) sheets are produced at the end of the year.

These are issues that are still part of the greater football debate. However, over those early years, for Berwickers, the concerns were much closer to home. The club went through a financial crisis resulting in administration, albeit not for the conventional spending beyond your means reasons. This was followed


by eviction from Shielfield and the real possibility that the future of the club was non-existent. It left an indelible mark on the supporters who had to travel 100 miles just to see a home game. It was with these experiences very much in mind that BRST began ten years ago. There was a determination that the club would never again face the threats created by owners who saw it as their fiefdom in which the fans had no right of challenge. Coupled with and the fact that no matter what happened on the pitch, the club’s failure to invest cash windfalls and the increasing dilapidation of Shielfield led supporters to band together and form the Trust. Over the years those threats have dissipated as we fought to have a voice within the board room and have an element of control over the affairs of the club we have all followed. It has never been easy and on occasion it has been distinctly unpleasant. For a great deal of the time we were very much the outsiders, daring to challenge the practices within the club that had seen us stumble from one minor crisis to another. The good news is that the major concerns of those early days have passed and the role of fans within the club is a strong as it ever was. Of course not everything

in the garden is rosy and in life, to stand still is to go backwards. So the challenge remains, as the Trust plays its role in progressing the club while representing the interests of all our members. In some ways this is a much harder task because the battles of the early days acted as a bond to support collective action. The issues today are much more subtle and create a much more The challenges for the fusofter focus towards solu- ture are already on us. The league reconstruction tions. events left the league withAs we stand today the out a sponsor and many Trust and the club have lower clubs without a real succeeded in surviving the voice. Globalisation means biggest financial crisis for that many people want to many years. Recently the identify with the seductive club announced a profit for allure of Champions League the fourth year in row. Sure without even leaving their there have been Old Firm armchairs, let alone ever windfalls, but these wind- paying to get into a footfalls have not been intrinsic ball ground. I’m sure there to planning a black balance are kids out there who don’t sheet. For ourselves we even know that standing to have seen the membership watch a football is normal! numbers remain at the level These are just two of the of four years ago and the matters that will concern us board is as active and more in the future. Others are up broader based than in any to you, the member. This is time in our short history. your Trust and the future is Our support of the reserve in your gift. We aim to use it and youth teams has been wisely. a feature throughout our existence and it pleasing Find out more about the to see the likes of Lavery, Berwick Rangers SupportO’Brien and Morris making ers Trust at www.berwickimportant contributions to rangers.org or follow them the first team this year, with on Twitter @BerwickRST others waiting in the wings. Sure, it’s not all down to us but we can be proud of our contribution to the cause.


albion rovers ‘pay what you want’ a success SPFL League Two side Albion Rovers took the unusual step in January of this year of allowing their supporters to pay what they wished for the club’s league clash with Montrose at Cliftonhill. In a bid to increase match day attendance and help out their fans in the postfestive period, the club allowed admittance for both home and away supporters at whatever price they were happy to pay – with a minimum set at £1. Rovers’ previous four home league matches saw an average crowd of just under four hundred. However, the visit of the Gable Endies saw a great turnout of 718, an increase of 125%, with an improved gate receipt of 160%. Not only did the club benefit from the increased attendance, they were also boosted by an increase in secondary spend; a 165% increase on previous match days. For clubs in the lower reaches of the SPFL, such a boost can be invaluable and finding unique ways in which to achieve this should be of increasing importance. Albion Rovers’ initiative has been trialled at other clubs, with English side FC United of Manchester going so far as to employ a similar idea with their season ticket sales. Whilst certainly not a long-term

solution to small crowds and low gate receipts, it can act as a creative method to engaging with more members of the community and encouraging more football fans to get behind their local club. With children being allowed free entry as part of the scheme, there was also the opportunity to attract the next generation of Rovers fans, especially with the nearby attraction of the Old Firm. The issue of ticket pricing in Scottish football is a popular area for debate amongst supporters. Albion Rovers normal ticket price is £10, with admission for other League Two sides ranging from £10-12. It is purely subjective of course whether this equates to value for money. Clubs at all levels are not actually competing against one another in terms of the ‘product’ that they offer. They are competing against any and all alternate attractions where their fans’ money could go towards. Especially for those who take their children to live football; other potential family attractions, such as the swimming pool or the cinema may arguably offer better value for money for parents looking to entertain their children over the weekend. By increasing attendance over the long-term, clubs could conceivably lower their ticket prices if gate

numbers were to substantially improve. Unfortunately, this creates a difficult situation for football clubs. They can ill afford to lower ticket prices considering the delicate financial situation that many of them are, whilst at the same time it’s difficult to attract more support if prices remain the same and the quality of the football doesn’t change to a significant degree. Short-term schemes, such as a ‘Pay what you want’ initiative may help in attracting new or ‘lapsed’ supporters whilst at the same time avoiding a gate receipt shortfall for the clubs concerned. Done two or three times a season – for carefully chosen matches – may help the smaller Scottish clubs gain intermittent boosts throughout their season, both in terms of income and attendance. For Albion Rovers and other Scottish clubs lower down the football pyramid, this type of original ticketing scheme may have to become a long-term strategy, rather than a one-off novelty.


keeping it clean The Scottish Football Association has launched a whistleblowing hotline designed to help eradicate corruption from the game. The ‘Keep It Clean’ campaign is designed to help Scottish football "stay one step ahead of the growing threat of match-fixing". The hotline is open to anyone within the sport in Scotland who may have knowledge of corrupt practice within football; players, coaches, officials etc.

to entire tournaments; from hearsay to full convictions.

Late 2013 saw match and spotfixing creep back into the conscience of professional football in the UK to a significant extent, with the arrests of six individuals in relation to offences carried out in League One matches and below. Such an instance so far up the English league pyramid has caused great concern within professional football, but it should be remembered that this The issue of match-fixing in pro- is not the first or even most serifessional football has plagued ous occurrence of an attempt to the sport for decades. Stories influence results or incidents on of players, referees and officials a football field. willing to accept a variety of bribes in return for affecting the Match-fixing in British football outcome of matches are not un- actually has a rich history, dating common and range from allega- back over one hundred years. tions relating to single matches One of Britain’s most talented

players of that generation, the former Manchester United and City forward Billy Meredith, was found guilty of attempted bribery on the final match day of the 1904/05 season whilst at City. Meredith was suspended for one season by the Football Association and later admitted his crime. The 1964 British betting scandal is perhaps the most high profile example of an extensive and systematic match-fixing syndicate on these shores. Former Plymouth Argyle and St Johnstone player Jimmy Gauld was sentenced to four years imprisonment for his role in the fixing and subsequent widespread betting on of matches in English league football. Thirty-three players were prosecuted, with


ten eventually jailed for offences relating to this period, including then England international, Tony Kay. As recently as 2008 and 2011 we have seen player indiscretions relating to match-fixing or betting in British football. In 2008, five players were charged with betting on a match they were involved in between Accrington Stanley and Bury FC, whilst in 2011 ten individuals were arrested in connection with betting patterns relating to the sending off of then Motherwell FC midfielder, Steve Jennings, although the case against the player was dropped. Spot-fixing may be a greater concern to sporting and government authorities than anything else; attempting to influence a single incident in a match – a red card, throw in, corner etc. presents much fewer obstacles for any one individual or syndicate to navigate past. Suspicious patterns throughout a ninety-minute period would be much easier for the authorities to notice rather than a mistimed tackle or an over hit pass. Having said this however, issues of spot-fixing would not be directly linked to legal betting markets. Betting websites in this country will tend to have a maximum pay-out limit on bets relating to occurrences such as a player being issued a card; SkyBet for example, set their limit at £1000 pay-out for yellow card bets; hardly an amount of money that would tempt a corrupt better.

field is a difficult question to assess. The sport in Scotland isn’t afforded the same amount of scrutiny that their cross-border neighbours are, or many other leagues in world football for that matter. Eastern Asia has long been rife with illegal betting syndicates preying on local leagues that are starved of interest due to the fanfare surrounding the English Premier League and La Liga BBVA. This month, Hong Kong’s Independent Commission Against Corruption announced the arrest of nine individuals – including professional players – after allegations of ‘bribery in rigging the results of football matches involving a local football club’. The Hong Kong Football Association has confirmed that an investigation is currently underway. Could Scotland potentially fall foul to a similar threat due to their modest footballing stature?

According to some, it already has. Former Queen’s Park and Clyde player, Gordon Parks, made allegations in August of last year that several lower league matches in Scotland had predetermined outcomes, with players betting against themselves to lose and reaping the rewards. Considering the paltry salaries that the majority of lower league players are one – many as part-timers – it isn’t difficult to take such claims seriously. David Brand, the former SFA Security and Integrity Officer is another who is greatly concerned with the prospect of match fixing in Scottish football. He cites the recent arrests Where the threat to Scottish in English football; including the football lies within this mine- claim by one individual that they

had influence within Scottish football to corrupt results and on-pitch incidents. Brand, who only recently left his post, is a strong advocate for a proactive attitude within Scottish football towards tackling match-fixing and the need to accept such a problem as a contemporary issue for the sport. Fortunately for Scottish football, there have been no proven cases of match-fixing or corruption of its kind as of yet. Unlike other European countries of similar footballing stature, such as Turkey and Greece, Scottish football has yet to suffer from a player or club being prosecuted for said crimes. However, this should serve as little comfort to Scotland’s football and crime authorities. There is no country in world football that is immune to such attempts at player and official exploitation. A zero-tolerance policy as a foundation, before any instances can manifest themselves has to be the attitude of the SFA and SPFL. Scottish football has enough on its plate with financial mismanagement, involvement clubs and a weak national team to afford taking any chances with an issue as serious as match fixing.


been identified for our simplified tariffs but we have been recognised in the industry for our outstanding customer service. We will be bringing this to a new network of supporters up and down the country and we look forward to developing this partnership.

Fan power boosted by co-operative energy partnership Co-operative Energy is set to harness the power of sports fans with the announcement of a major new sponsorship agreement with Supporters Direct.

And Commercial Manager at Supporters Direct, Mark Bullock said: "I am delighted to welcome Co-operative Energy as the Official Energy Partner to Supporters Direct. Their involvement is representative of our shared cooperative values and celebrates the success of the supporters trust movement in the U.K.

encourage sustainability and Their support for our core supporter involvement in the work is particularly encouraggame. ing and the partnership allows Supporters Trusts to generate In addition to securing a set of an important residual income commercial rights the partnerwhich will reinforce the organiship deal will see Co-operative sations’ community benefit. Energy working closely with all of the Supporters’ Trusts Strengthening the Supportin England and Wales to proers Trust network is at the top mote environmental awareof our agenda and we welness, in particular energy efficome Cooperative Energy to ciency, and help communicate our growing list of commercial some of the practical solutions partners in the current season that will move them to a more and look forward to a successsustainable future. ful relationship."

Co-operative Energy is to become the Official Energy Partner to Supporters Direct in a two year deal lasting until 2016, with fans set to benefit from simplified, competitive tariffs and Supporters Trusts given access to a profit sharing agreement which will see funds pumped back into Supporter Initiatives. Speaking at the launch of the sponsorship deal, Co-operaThe agreement will also see Co- tive Energy General Manager operative Energy supporting Ramsay Dunning said: "We Supporters Direct’s core work are looking forward to buildin with Rugby League, Premier ing a successful relationship League, Football League and with Supporters Direct over Non-League clubs the length the next two seasons. Co-opof the country, which aims to erative Energy has not only

Co-operative Energy, which is part of The Midcounties Cooperative, now has 170,000 customers. Find out more here


Always fair energy prices Because that’s our goal too

Being a member of a supporters’ trust is about more than just loving sport. It’s about being involved, having your say, listening to others and working together as a community to secure a sustainable future for your favourite team. In short, it’s about fair play. You may not think sport has much in common with your gas and electricity bills, but at Co-operative Energy, we’re motivated by the same values as the trusts you work so hard to support. Sport is steeped in history, full of winners, pioneers and athletes who went the extra mile for their teammates. In a similar way, the Co-operative movement has been holding the torch for communities, ethical trading and honesty since the Rochdale Pioneers opened the doors of their first shop in 1844. A real alternative In 2011, almost 200 years later, Co-operative Energy – part of the Midcounties Co-operative - was founded on the same principles. We wanted to

offers consumers an alternative to the Big 6 energy suppliers - a different choice based on fair prices, transparency, renewable energy sources and a commitment to customer service and Co-operative members. Three years on, we’ve gained plenty of supporters and 200,000 customers. And, although we’ve grown fast, we’ve kept our promises to them, offering consistently fair prices and a strong set of values. When some energy suppliers were hiking their prices by as much as 11%, we decided to absorb rising energy industry transport and distribution costs and raise ours by a modest 2.5% on average. Our range of fixed price tariffs is designed to offer flexibility, value for money and complete peace of mind - without any early exit fees.

communities across the UK. In fact, you could say we’re team players. Our goal for the future? To grow without losing sight of what makes us unique, to continually offer our customers a fair energy deal and to put the ball back in the energy consumer’s court is our goal. We’re very proud to be working with Supporters Direct, because your hard work, true dedication and team spirit are exactly what the international Co-operative movement is all about. You’ll support your team for life. And, as your energy supplier, we’ll be here for you for life.

A rallying cry for renewables We’ve sourced our energy responsibly (the carbon content of our electricity in 2013 was less than half the national average), hosted the UK’s first Community Energy Conference and worked with renewable energy

For more information please visit: www.cooperativeenergy.coop/sports Or call 0800 093 7535 quoting 'Supporters Direct'


Create and Prosper Financial Services Ltd

what to look out for in 2014 Chartered Financial Planners Supporting Scottish Football

supporters direct scotland Whatever your financial needs, we’re here to help strategy day When you use Create and Prosper as your financial adviser you will receive a 10% discount and we will donate 10% of our fees to your football club or supporters trust

community ownership week

Pensions

Investments

Protection

Mortgages

For friendly and professional advice contact us now: Tel: 01592 593740 Email: info@cpfsltd.co.uk www.createandprosper.co.uk Create and Prosper Financial Services Ltd is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority Your home may be repossessed if you do not keep up repayments on your mortgage. There may be a fee for mortgage advice. The precise amount will depend upon your circumstances but we estimate that it will be ÂŁ295.


Supporters Direct Scotland January E-Mag  

Issue 3 of the Supporters Direct Scotland E-Mag containing features on whether Rangers could become a fan owned club and Albion Rovers' pay...

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