Why Fans Matter!
Democratically run clubs are different.
They are held accountable by their community, which means they often better adhere to good governance principles. This is something to be celebrated and supported. However, these clubs also face particular challenges. They compete with clubs who are better resourced, in leagues where laws, rules and regulations often do not favour fully transparent socially-focused clubs and where shareholders and board members are often not held accountable for their actions to full extend.
Amateur and grassroots clubs struggle the most. They often don’t receive sufficient or specialised support from the governing body and they are highly dependent on volunteers and self-motivation in order to survive. But even professional clubs with an indisputably decent level of internal capacity and long-established democratic processes can get side-tracked and lose their connection with the community to the benefit of individuals. Others simply fail to modernise and adjust their internal processes to meet the demands of the rapidly changing football environment. Examples of these include U.S. Ancona 1905 in Italy, Aris Thessaloniki F.C. in Greece, AC Omonia in Cyprus, Hamburger Sport Verein and others in Germany, AFC Wimbledon and others in the UK and more.
In order to sustain a club and compete on an equal footing in these circumstances, fans who set up new clubs or are involved in the management of clubs need skills and expertise that will help them understand and meet the challenges faced by democratically run clubs
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