A groundbreaking move as Liverpool FC’s supporter’s union Spirit Of Shankly have reached a legal agreement on the creation of new supporters Board.
Following the polls of members collectively voted more than 98.9 have voted in the favour regarding future commitment with Liverpool FC and the inception of supporter’s board.
The historic agreement will see the creation of a 16-strong Supporters Board led by Spirit of Shankly (SOS). And now legally recognized as the Liverpool Football Club’s Official Supporters Trust, holding 10 of those seats.
Remaining six seats are occupied by:
- Liverpool Disabled Supporter’s Association
- Kop Outs
- Spion Kop 1906
- Official Liverpool Supporters Clubs
- Liverpool Women’s Supporters Committee
- Faith and ethnic groups
It is a deal that has been struck with the owners and will be legally binding regardless of who owns the club and one that gives supporters a real voice on major issues that would impact club tradition.
There will be regular meetings with the club. The Board’s chair will attend the club’s main board meetings when strategic issues directly affecting supporters are on the agenda.
The club’s statement following the historic deal:
The new engagement process will be enshrined in the club’s Articles of Association and a legally binding Memorandum of Understanding between the club and the Official Liverpool Supporters Trust will be entered into, thereby ensuring supporters input on fan issues via structured dialogue.
Liverpool Football Club’s take on the historic Supporters Board deal
Liverpool CEO, Billy Hogan, said the following:
The idea for the Supporters Board came from an understanding and recognition that there was a lack of engagement with supporters on some important fan-facing issues and that was something we wanted to address.
We had the ability to engage directly with a number of our different supporter groups, and we started with our official Supporters Trust, Spirit of Shankly.
There has been a tremendous amount of engagement with our fans and supporters across the last several years, particularly the work that went into Kyiv and Madrid, a lot of engagement around the Club World Cup, and issues such as equality, diversity and inclusion, ticketing issues and our sanctions process.
There is a lot of engagement, but it was clear that we needed to address our levels of dialogue and put a process in place that was more formal.
This has been a healthy process with a lot of engagement, and ultimately we’re really proud of where we’ve ended up. We think the Supporters Board concept is a really good one and it allows us to engage in a really meaningful way.
I do just want to say a huge thank you to all the different groups that we’ve engaged with to get to this point.
Spirit Of Shankly
Supporter’s union formed in 2008 to oppose the former Liverpool FC owners following amid mounting debts, waning on-pitch form, and conflicts with manager Rafa Benitez.
13 years later, the picture is different between Liverpool Football Club and the Spirit of Shankly supporters group.
Joe Blott, chair of Spirit of Shankly, released a statement on the club’s official website:
We’ve been working really hard as a union to work alongside the club, to hold the club to account but at the same time to work in harmony to try and get the best for supporters.
The Supporters Board will be led by democracy, with an invitation to affiliate groups, not individuals, so when you work on the Supporters Board, you’re operating at a level of speaking on behalf of supporters, not just yourself.
The key differences now the Supporters Board is in action will firstly be strategy, because we as a fan organisation can now take issues to the club, the opportunity to be strategic.
Here we also have a broader aspect of fan representation, anybody can have a voice and be part of one of these affiliate groups.
The club also wants to retain elements of the separate working groups, such as the ticketing working group, equal opportunities, and it’s important that they can pick up day-to-day issues that will feed into and inform the Supporters Board strategy, which then informs the engagement with the club.
Another feature of the agreement is that it will be formally written into the club’s articles of association, which future-proofs the relationship between supporters as it would form part of any transfer of undertaking to new owners.
We’ve come such a long way from the challenges of the past, and it was critically important to make sure the supporter voice is heard.
We know that fan representation is critically important to maintaining football. I think what we have now is a real synergy and organisational approach that ensures stronger representation and greater engagement.
Thus, the history supporters board will be the beginning of a new ear for Liverpool. Meanwhile, Jurgen Klopp’s red army will be travelling to San Siro to face AC Milan.
It will be the last group stage fixture for Liverpool in the Champions League. The Reds could write a new chapter in their history books if they win the clash against Stefano Pioli’s side.