Green MSP: community bill must back football fan ownership

Green MSP Alison Johnstone is welcoming today’s publication of the draft Community Empowerment and Renewal Bill but are urging Ministers to look at extending community “right to buy” proposals to give sports fans first right of refusal when their local club comes up for sale.

The Greens will be consulting with fan trusts and other users of sports facilities to see how this Bill could enable more support for clubs at the heart of Scottish communities.

Among the many proposals in the Bill, Greens are welcoming proposals for new duties on councils to provide allotment spaces and reduce waiting lists. Research by Alison Johnstone last month showed significant demand across Scotland for growing space.

Alison Johnstone, Green MSP for Lothian, said:

“At the heart of this Bill is a recognition that the right to buy principle is a positive one that has enabled communities to take over land in rural areas. The Government is right to extend this to urban land, but we can go further and look at key community assets such as those local sports clubs that bring people together.

“I believe fan ownership of football is a model with a great future in Scotland, so I want to see new rights for fans so that they are at the front of the queue when clubs come up for sale. I look forward to campaigning on this issue as these proposals are debated in Parliament.

“This Bill contains very positive measures to tackle the unmet demand for growing space in urban areas. My research has shown some people are waiting up to nine years for a plot – a daft situation when we know so many communities have vacant land sitting idle. Some local authorities were against the idea of targets but as the Bill goes through Parliament I will make the case that growing your own should be a right rather than a struggle.”