In 2008, Supporters Direct commissioned Substance to conduct a
research project about the social and community value of football.
The aims of the research were to:

• Investigate ways in which we might measure or account for
the social and community ‘value’ of football clubs

• Identify evidence of the added value that alternative fan or
community ownership structures might bring

• Outline how the community roles of football clubs relate to
wider regulatory issues.

The project was focused on England but has relevance across
football and indeed sport.
Supporters Direct has been the first institution in English
football to explore the ways in which the game might begin to
address the issue of the social value of football. Supporters Direct’s
role is to encourage and promote the community ownership of
football clubs via their supporters. Through this research, it has
expressed an interest in moving beyond the moral and value-led
arguments that have been made for fan ownership to investigate
whether a more robust case can be made on the basis of the social
value of football. In so doing, not only is it trying to open up
the debate on the social value of football per se, but also identify
how and where fan ownership can add social value and deliver
community and business advantages.

Supporters Direct is also keen, through this research, to help
those running all football clubs, supporters’ trusts, supporterowned
clubs and supporter-directors on the boards of clubs to start
to address this issue, implement good practice and improve the
reporting and performance of the positive roles clubs take in their
local communities.

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