Green MSPs today announced plans to find ways to ensure football fans are first in line when their club comes up for sale.
The party believes giving supporters the right of first refusal would help put the Scottish game onto a sound financial footing, as well as starting to end the tradition for clubs to be as much an extension of their owners’ egos as representatives of their communities.
They made the call as the battle for control of Hearts rages on .
The party will look to bring forward an amendment to the Scottish Government’s forthcoming Community Empowerment and Renewal Bill in the autumn in order to deliver on this objective.
The right-to-buy method was first used in rural land reform, and Scottish Ministers already plan to extend that right to urban land with this legislation.
Greens argue that this approach works all across Europe, with over a third of Europe’s top clubs run by supporters’ associations, from Barcelona and Real Madrid to Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund.
Alison Johnstone MSP said: “Scottish football continues to be beset by financial and organisational problems. Just since the last election, three iconic Scottish teams have found themselves in trouble: Rangers, Dunfermline and Hearts. Long-suffering fans deserve responsible owners, and it’s increasingly understood that fans themselves are the best stewards of their own clubs. It’s time to give a red card to the mismanagement from the people who’ve been running our national game. It’s time for a new team to take control in the game - the supporters who are the game’s lifeblood.