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Football Governance Research Centre publish annual report

The Football Governance Research Centre has used their annual report to call for a code of best practice for corporate governance for professional football clubs to be introduced

The FGRC, based at Birkbeck College at the University of London, report at the end of the year that has once again seen great change in footballs financial landscape. Many more clubs have gone to the brink of extinction, and several, including our own, have been rescued by their supporters.

The Supporters Trust movement has gathered inexorable pace and momentum; the aggregate number of fans holding Trust membership nation-wide has nearly doubled from 17,749 in 2002 to 32,883 in 2003. There are also three other professional clubs than City, at Lincoln, Exeter and Chesterfield, where supporters trusts hold the majority shareholding.

The report calls for greater openness between clubs and Trusts, with greater use of AGMs to supply information about finances at football clubs. It also suggests that football clubs themselves might consider restructuring their constitutions to become Industrial & Provident Societies. Most Supporters Trusts are organised along these lines, and this restructuring the report claims would improve clubs involvement with their local authorities and communities, and open up new funding opportunities. To implement this would require a football league rule change, but the report concludes this would be a simple matter that should hardly prove controversial given the widespread support across the industry for the drive towards greater community and supporter involvement.

Following the revision of the Combined Code for corporate governance on November 1st 2003, the FGRC call for a best practice code to be introduced to football. The report claims such a code would be fairly simple to design and the cost of implementing it is likely to be low. The FGRC feel this is necessary as Football is an especially challenging business because clubs have to balance the needs of the business with the desire to achieve success on the pitch.

To read the report in full, and for more information and interesting research articles, click on the link below to visit the FGRCs website.

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