Football Fans Should Have More Say, Says Minister

Football supporters should be given a greater say in the day-to-day running of clubs, according to Scotland's Sports Minister.

Jamie Hepburn believes the move would make Scottish football stronger.

It comes after the Scottish Football Supporters Association called for a national conversation on ''sweeping changes''.

Around 10,000 fans responded to a survey run last year by the SFSA about the future of the game.

The group, which has a membership of around 46,000 people, has produced a manifesto based in part on the responses, setting out how to ''renew, reform and reclaim'' football for fans and communities.

It was launched in the Scottish Parliament last week with backing from former first minister Henry McLeish and Green MSP Alison Johnstone, among others.

The Transforming Scottish Football document contains nine key points, including rebuilding the game with larger leagues, expanding community ownership, more diversity and participation in the governing bodies.

A consultation on supporter involvement remains open until January 15 and Mr Hepburn wants more people to take part.

Speaking at the Supporters Direct Scotland Supporters' Summit at Hampden Park, he said: ''I firmly believe there is a powerful and persuasive case for supporter involvement and - where appropriate - ownership of their clubs.

''It is commonplace in the Bundesliga (German league) so often held up as an example of best practice on and off the field.

''And supporter involvement and ownership is gaining momentum here in Scotland too. Hearts and Motherwell are pursuing high-profile fan ownership models, while other clubs like Clyde, Dunfermline and Stirling Albion have led the way.

''So fan involvement and ownership can - and does - work.

''The consultation closes on January 15. After that, we will analyse and assess the responses and publish a report.

''Then we will work closely with the football authorities, clubs and - of course - supporters and supporters' groups to consider the best way forward.''

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