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Trust comments on board make-up
Trust comments on board make-up

Project Spirit - corporate governance review

As York City is one of only a very small handful of clubs nationwide where the football club is mutually owned by its supporters, the boards of the Trust and the Club are having to develop a new way of doing things.  Citys Trust is at the forefront in developing a new long term model for football club ownership and operation. 


Trust Board member Paul Rawnsley commented,  In the first quarter of 2004 the Trust carried out thorough review of York Citys corporate governance framework.  It was decided to postpone completion and publication of the unprecedented review until after the Bootham Crescent situation has been resolved.  Rawnsley added, We will be putting in place a framework of structures and processes that will help ensure that the new York City Football Club, under Trust control, continues to be managed in the best interests of the supporters and the community.


The phrase Corporate Governance is not something that most people will get terribly excited about.  Corporate governance is the framework of structures and processes that sets out how a business will be operated.  At York City, particularly given the events in the run up to March 2003, it is important for everyone concerned that appropriate structures and processes are put in place.  A Project Team has led the review work which, in particular, has included key consultations with the boards of the Trust and the Club.


One area that is being addressed by the corporate governance review known as Project Spirit is the make up of the Club Board.  That includes aspects such as the size of the board, procedures for appointment of directors and the inclusion on the Club Board of directors who are also Trust Board members.


Following the recent resignation of Mike Brown from the Club Board Mike also being one of the Trust Board members some supporters have been wondering if the Trust will be making an immediate director appointment to the Club Board.  At a Trust Board meeting on Saturday 24th July, having considered the matter, the Trust Board confirmed its intention to now work to complete the corporate governance review over the next couple of months and, in due course, to publish full details.  As part of this process the make up of the Club Board will be further considered.  Therefore, for the time being, the Club Board will continue as five directors.  The Trust Boards representation on the Club Board is just one part of a wider framework in relation to the Trust-Club relationship.  Other aspects include, but are not limited to, formal meetings between the boards of the Trust and the Club (the most recent being on 6th July; as reported on the Trusts website) and strong working relationships between the Trust and Club in key areas such as communications, financial management and Project Gold.


The Trust Board, as the representatives of supporters and owners of the Club, was also keen to reiterate its support and gratitude to the five-strong Club Board.  Trust Chairman Richard Snowball commented, It is clear for all to see that the Club Directors all of whom are Trust Members working on a voluntary basis have performed a terrific job for our Football Club over their first year or so running things.  In particular, that includes regaining Bootham Crescent for the Club, sorting out the financial mess we inherited and then dealing with the impact relegation and starting to implement the Community Vision.  Snowball added, Not everyone will agree 100% with every detail, but I would hope everyone can agree that the Club has come a long way in a very short space of time.  Well be working to continue to improve the business and its relationships with supporters, local people and business.


Project Spirit was initiated as a review of matters a year on from completion of the Trusts Rescue Package in March 2003.  In some respects, it was also prompted to address matters relating to Bootham Crescent.  The intended outcome will be to put in place, for the long term, a framework of structures and processes for the benefit of the York City business.  Solid business structures provide the basis for the club to achieve both on and off the pitch in the years to come.


The corporate governance review is covering a number of areas, including:

l                    The make up of the Trust Board;

l                    The role and responsibilities of the Trust;

l                    Make up of the Club Board;

l                    The role and responsibilities of the Club;

l                    The decision-making framework (Trust members, Trust Board, Club Board and Club directors/officials).


Elements of the framework include:

l                    The Memorandum and Articles of Association of York City Football Club Limited;

l                    Company Law and football authority rulebooks;

l                    The Trusts own constitution, board membership policy and election rules;

l                    The Trust-Club Code of Conduct;

l                    Roles and responsibilities of board members.


As a result of Project Spirit, some aspects have already been implemented.  For example, both the boards of the Club and the Trust have now identified (and published) designated roles and responsibilities for individual board members.


Earlier this year both the Independent Football Commission and the All Party Football Group produced recommendations for general improvements to be made to the corporate governance frameworks in the football industry.  At York City, the issue is being tackled.  Other clubs are looking to see how the situation at York is being addressed and Supporters Direct is also keen to draw on the review work for the benefit of other trusts and clubs.


If anyone has any queries or comments on these matters, please contact any Trust Board member, write to the Trust or email

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