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Calls for fans to get chance to buy clubs

MSPs will today debate plans to hand football fans more rights to buy their club.

The Greens are calling for more communities to own clubs and the chance of first refusal when a side is put up for sale or collapses financially.

A debate on the issue is to be led by the party's sports spokeswoman, Alison Johnstone, who will ask whether the rights should be enshrined in a new Bill

The Community Empowerment Bill has been used by communities to buy land.

Ms Johnstone, the Lothian MSP, said: "Football clubs are often at the core of our communities and provide excitement, drama, identity and belonging. Community ownership is the norm for clubs in countries such as Germany, but we can do more to secure a better future for Scottish football.

"Too many fans have had to go through painful cycles of financial boom and bust at their clubs. Those clubs that have succeeded in becoming community owned had to overcome great hurdles, and now we need a clear route for community ownership that does not involve a crisis."

Ms Johnstone says that supporters should be given the chance to buy a proportion of membership shares. The organisation, Supporters Direct Scotland, is working with Annan Athletic, Ayr United and Motherwell to increase community and fan involvement.

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