We will do our best to answer all questions our supporters may have. If you have any remaining questions, please contact us.
What is a Supporters Trust?
A Supporters’ Trust is a democratic, not-for-profit organisation of supporters, committed to strengthening the voice for supporters in the decision making process at a club, and strengthening the links between the club and the community it serves.
Supporters’ Trusts are constituted as Community Benefit Societies (CBS), a form of Co-operative that operates under a one-member one-vote principle. CBS’ are registered with the Financial Conduct Authority, and any changes to the rules must be approved by the members and only become effective once the FCA has agreed them, checking they are in keeping with the spirit of the organisation. The members own all assets and liabilities collectively, and any profit made is either kept as reserves or reinvested to meet its objects. They are not charities and whilst they contain the word ‘Trust’ they do not follow the legal definition of a ‘Trust’.
What are membership fees spent on?
All Trust revenue from membership subscriptions will be deposited in the Trust’s bank account and will be used, initially, to cover any essential administration costs incurred in setting up the Trust. Any surplus will be retained in the account for use by the Trust membership, in association with the democratically elected board, all in full accordance with the Trust rules and regulations.
What is the difference between a Supporters Trust and a Supporter Club?
A Trust can own shares or property, it can ultimately own the club, and at the very least, own a shareholding.
A Supporters Club or Association, is more of a social collective which might be equally concerned about the situation at the club but due to its unregulated status legally unable to buy the club or operate in the same way as a Trust.
Whilst a Supporters Association can raise money, campaign, or seek to secure the future of the club, without the right legal vehicle such as the Trust, they would be unable to do so. Supporters Associations are also not required to be fully democratic or accountable and are not regulated or required to be subject to audits.
Supporters Associations still may have a significant role to play, providing transport for fans, lobbying the club and acting to represent supporters but because they are unincorporated a supporters association cannot own shares and employ staff. Therefore a Supporters Association cannot directly develop community schemes for the benefit of local people.