The British government is to set up a group of experts aimed at making it easier for fans to run football clubs.
The Supporter Ownership and Engagement Expert group will meet for the first time next month with representatives from Government, the Premier League, the FA, the Football League, Supporters Direct, lawyers, insolvency and tax experts and representatives from clubs that are run by supporters (Portsmouth FC, AFC Wimbledon and Wrexham).
The group will be chaired by Joanna Manning-Cooper, a member of the Portsmouth Supporters Trust that is a shareholder in Portsmouth and currently director of marketing and communications for the 2015 Rugby World Cup in England.
Sports minister Helen Grant launched the group at Portsmouth, which is owned by its fans following a takeover in 2013 after the club had gone into administration for a second time.
She said: “Football fans are the lifeblood of the club they support. Owners, executives and managers may come and go but it is the fans that are the constant, loyally following their clubs through thick and thin.
“We want to see what more we can do to give fans a stronger voice in how their club is run as well as looking at ways in which we can help remove some of the barriers to supporter ownership.”
Supporters Direct chief executive Robin Osterley added: “It’s very gratifying to see the Government addressing the problems that prevent an increase in supporter ownership.”
Last week Labour announced a plan to be included in its general election manifesto where clubs in England and Wales would be forced to give fans places 25% of the places on their boards and a 10% stake in the club if it were sold.