Team work is everything for co-operative football

Sensemaking / Team work is everything for co-operative football

Following the lead of Barcelona and Bayern Munich, more fans are being offered a stake in their club.

21 Feb 2012

Following the lead of Barcelona and Bayern Munich, more fans are being offered a stake in their club.

Most football fans are likely to be unaware that many of Europe’s most successful clubs – including FC Barcelona, Bayern Munich and Real Madrid – are run along co-operative lines.

‘Barca’ has 130,000 club members and more than 1,600 fan clubs around the world. Members make democratic decisions, including electing the club’s president every four years. The club runs a foundation which actively campaigns on a wide range of social issues including HIV/Aids. And in a departure from the usual football sponsorship deal, Barca donates €1.5 million every year to Unicef, whose logo appears on the players’ shirts.

In Britain, meanwhile, there’s growing interest in supporters’ co-operatives taking ownership stakes in clubs, as has happened with Exeter City and Wimbledon. Further north, disgruntled Manchester United fans who opposed the takeover of the club by US businessman Malcolm Glazer, set up their own semi-professional club, FC United. - Simon Birch

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