List of fan-owned sports teams

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This is a partial list of professional or semi-professional sports teams that are owned by fans (via either a collective organisation or where the assumption of majority ownership by a small group is prohibited by the club's constitution or governing documents) from all over the world sorted by home country. Teams playing at every level in each country are shown.

American football[edit]

Association football[edit]

Austria[edit]

Protest Clubs[edit]

  • SV Austria Salzburg – The club was formed in 2005, by some of the supporters of the original SV (Austria) Salzburg after it was renamed FC Red Bull Salzburg by new owners, which caused a group of supporters, known as the "Violet-Whites", to want to preserve the 72-year-old traditions of their club, which they felt had been ignored by Red Bull.

Phoenix Clubs[edit]

  • FC Blau-Weiß Linz - Club was founded in 1997 and adopted the traditions of the defunct club FC Linz, which due to financial difficulties had to finally dissolve, by merger with their long-time rivals LASK Linz.
  • Grazer Athletiksport Klub - was refounded in 2012 as Grazer AC after the former Grazer AK was dissolved. On 14 March 2014 Grazer AC was considered to be a continuation of the original "GAK" in agreement with its umbrella association.
  • Wiener Sportklub - Club was re-founded in 2001 by members and players of the bankrupted predecessor.

Clubs controlled by their members[edit]

Belarus[edit]

Belgium[edit]

Bulgaria[edit]

Canada[edit]

  • Victoria Highlanders F.C. – majority owner Alex Campbell Jr. publicly announced that the purchase of season tickets will give supporters "an ownership share in the club and a voice in its direction".[1] Season ticket holders are members of the Victoria Highlanders Supporters Society, which owns 30% of the club and holds two seats (of nine) on the club's advisory board.[2] The club however disbanded in 2014 and when it was re-founded a year later in 2015, it did not involve fan-ownership.

Costa Rica[edit]

Croatia[edit]

Protest clubs[edit]

  • NK Varteks – founded by supporters dissatisfied with the situation in NK Varaždin.
  • NK Zagreb 041 - founded in 2014 as fans were dissatisfied with the situation in NK Zagreb.

Czech Republic[edit]

England[edit]

Supporter Buyout[edit]

  • Aylesbury United F.C. – In July 2009, The Aylesbury United Supporters Trust was able to gain control of the club, which thus became a fan-owned football team.
  • Bamber Bridge F.C. - The club is fully owned by a community organisation that represent supporters of the club.[3]
  • Banbury United F.C. - In August 2015, a supporter-led Community Benefit Society took formal control of the club.[4]
  • Chelmsford City F.C. – The club is currently registered as a company limited by guarantee (CLG) and claims to be owned by its members. However, as of 2015, the club intends to convert to a community benefit society.[5]
  • Congleton Town F.C. – The clubs shareholding was passed over to a newly formed supporters Trust in 2014[6]
  • Dorchester Town F.C. – from 2013 the Supporters Trust own a joint majority shareholding in the club.[7]
  • Exeter City F.C. – Following relegation to the Conference in 2003, the club was taken over by the Exeter City Supporters' Trust.
  • Hendon F.C. - Over the summer of 2010, the club was bought out by the Hendon FC Supporters Trust, an Industrial and Provident Society.[8]
  • Hyde United F.C. - Buyout from former owner John Manship occurred on 2015-06-27.[9]
  • Lewes F.C. – On July 9, 2010 "The Rooks" became a member-owned club with six founder members of the new Rooks125 group forming the inaugural Board of the new Lewes Community Football Club ownership body. In April 2011, the club announced details on how fans will be able to become owners of Lewes FC. From July 2011 shares in the club have been available from £30 per annum. Shareholders are entitled to vote and stand for election to the Board of Directors. The first of these elections took place in October 2011. As of December 2011 the club has over 800 shareholders. In 2011 the club introduced the "Support and Save" scheme whereby shareholders are entitled to discounts from participating local businesses.
  • Newark Town F.C. - "Newark Town Football Club Limited was registered under the Industrial and Provident Societies Act 1965. It is known as an Industrial and Provident Society (IPS) or a Community Benefit Society and is regulated by the Financial Services Authority."[10]
  • Newport County A.F.C. - On 1 October 2015 Newport County Supporters Trust took over ownership of the club.[11]
  • Newport (IOW) F.C. – in 2008 ownership of the club was fully transferred to the supporter's trust.
  • Peacehaven & Telscombe F.C. - In June 2016, the club was purchased by a community group representing fans of the club.[12]
  • Portsmouth F.C. – Portsmouth became the largest fan-owned football club in England, after the Pompey Supporters Trust (PST) successfully gained possession of Fratton Park in April 2013.[13][14]
  • Prescot Cables F.C. – The summer of 2005 saw a change in organisation, with a new football committee formed from the Supporter's Club taking over the reins of the club.
  • Saffron Walden Town F.C. – On 4 July 2012, members voted to convert the club into a Community Benefit Society.[15]
  • Tonbridge Angels F.C. - During the 2014–15 season, steps were taken by supporters to purchase shares in the club to make it majority owned by supporters. They will contest the 2015–16 pre-season Supporters Direct shield, with their first match against Fisher F.C. on 25 July.[16]
  • Wrexham A.F.C. - Since August 2011 Wrexham have been a supporter-owned football club.[17]
  • Wycombe Wanderers F.C. – On 30 June 2012, the Wycombe Wanderers Supporters Trust formally took over the club.[18] which resulted in financial stabilization and ended a transfer embargo.

Phoenix Clubs[edit]

Protest Clubs[edit]

New Clubs which started as Supporter Owned[edit]

Minority Supporter Owned[edit]

  • Bromsgrove Sporting F.C. – Founded in 2009 as a supporters consortium with the plan to buy Bromsgrove Rovers and take them out of administration. When another owner was found for Rovers it was decided to create a new club instead. The Bromsgrove Sporting Supporters' Society, a registered community benefit society, owned 30% of the club as of January 2014.[36] Three supporters serve on the club's board of directors.[37]
  • Cambridge City F.C. – As of September 2011, the Cambridge City Supporters' Trust (CCST) owned 10% (a minority) of the club. According to the CCST secretary, CCST now only has appointment power for one director position.
  • Carlisle United F.C. – The United Trust (also known as the Carlisle United Official Supporters' Club) owns a 25.4% stake in the club.[38] At least one elected member of the trust sits on the board of the club.[39]
  • Chesham United F.C. – As of the 2014/15 season, Chesham United Supporters' Trust (CUST) held only a 2.69% shareholding in the club, and has "no direct responsibility for running the parent club."[40] CUST had previously acquired at least 43.25% ownership of the club as of September 2011.[41] CUST's previously-stated ambition was to earn no more than 49.9% of the club, "a safeguard so that no one party has an overall majority stake in the club".[42]
  • Hereford F.C. – The club's majority owner is a group of four benefactors (the Jon Hale group). The Hereford United Supporters Trust is currently a minority owner, although it aims to "own an equal 50% stake" through future fundraising.[43]

Former Supporter Owned[edit]

  • Brentford F.C. – Bees United (the Brentford FC Supporters Trust) own 60.3% of the shares of Brentford FC; Matthew Benham, himself a fan, owns 30.7% of the shares of Brentford FC; others own 9.0% of the shares of Brentford FC.[44][45] The Supporters Trust eventually sold a controlling share of the club to a private investor.
  • Chesterfield F.C. - Was bought by Chesterfield Football Supporters Society in 2001 from Darren Brown, who had run the club to the brink of insolvency (and was later jailed for crimes committed during his tenure at the club). The CFSS had held a meeting to discuss the parlous state of the club in March 2001, and a collection for funds yielded £6,000, which was used to buy the club several days later. The club entered insolvency as a result of the Brown-era financial mismanagement. CFSS struggled to escape that legacy and last contorl of the club to a consortium of former directors in 2003.[46]
  • Scarborough Town F.C. – This was a second supporter-owned "phoenix" club formed after the liquidation of Scarborough, and essentially competed with the larger Scarborough Athletic F.C. for former Scarborough FC fans, though focused more upon a youth team rather than a senior one. It eventually folded.[47] The club was run on a democratic basis by a management committee. Membership was open to everyone by payment of an annual fee. All adult members had an equal vote and were encouraged to use this vote at every AGM and EGM.[48] It had two complete seasons, the first in the Wearside Football League, then being promoted to the Humber Premier League, Division one.[49] The club were champions of both leagues and were very well attended. Despite this success, financial problems overcame the club during its final season, resulting in its records being expunged.
  • Stockport County F.C. was purchased in 2005 by the Stockport County Supporters' Co-operative but was sold to an investment group in 2009 after near-bankruptcy. A long-term goal of the Supporters' Co-Operative is to buy the ground and to buy back the club.
  • York City F.C. - Became owned by the York City Supporters' Trust in 2002 after a period of insolvency caused by then-Chairman Douglas Craig's separation of the club from ownership of the stadium at Bootham Crescent and subsequent ownership under John Batchelor.[50] The Trust negotiated a deal to buy back their old stadium using a loan provided by the Football Foundation but the strain of Batchelor-era debt servicing and repayments to the Foundation saw the Trust become minority shareholders with the majority stake owned by the McGill Family.

Finland[edit]

Germany[edit]

German fan on bicycle

In Germany a majority control by a single entity (person, or company) is not permitted by the league,[51] and is the German law for clubs. The law suggests a registered club should have minimum 7 members. The league requires that either a club, or a limited company which is controlled by a club with 50% + 1 vote can get a license to participate in the German first or second league. In the lower leagues, it is required to be a club.[52][53]

Shares of Borussia Dortmund, a German Bundesliga Club, are traded on the German stock market and are largely held by fans.

TC Freisenbruch, a club which was founded in Essen in 1902, is managed completely by the fans. The team currently plays in the ninth division of the German football league. Since July 2016, the club is managed via a webpage,[54] where the fans can make their decisions about, for example, the starting line-up or the prices for the jersey. For a small amount of money once a month, the fans become “team managers” (not members of TC Freisenbruch) on this webpage and are a part of Germany’s most exciting football project. They get exclusive information about the team, video and photo material and of course also data from performance tests or training sessions. It is also the decision of the fans to dismiss the manager of the club. At the moment, the team is trained by Mike Möllensiep.

Greece[edit]

Indonesia[edit]

Ireland[edit]

Israel[edit]

  • Hapoel Katamon Jerusalem – The club conceived and founded in 2007 by Hapoel Jerusalem fans unhappy with the team's management. The club currently plays in Liga Leumit (the second tier in Israel) and is based at Teddy Stadium in Jerusalem. At its founding, Hapoel Katamon Jerusalem became the first fan-owned football club in Israel. The fans still aim to own the original Hapoel Jerusalem, making it fan-owned and thus, saving it from its current owner.[58]
  • Maccabi Kabilio Jaffa - The Club was re-established in 2008 after a period of 8 years since the original club Maccabi Jaffa has gone bankrupt. Since the Club was re-established it won two consecutive Championships (Liga Gimel, Liga Bet) and it currently plays in Liga Alef South- The third league in its importance in Israel. The Club's greatest achievement was qualifying to 'The Round of 16' in the Israel State Cup. A vast majority of the fans are Israeli with Bulgarian roots since the Original club was founded in 1949 by Jews from the Bulgarian community. The club is named after the great Goalkeeper- Herzl Kabilio.
  • F.C. Haifa (Hapoel Rubi Haifa) – The club was founded in 2014 by Hapoel Haifa fans, after years of protesting against the team's management. The club is operated by the fans' association called "Ir HaPoalim" (city of workers).[59] The club entered the Israeli football league system at its lowest level, liga Gimel in 2014 and promoted to liga bet at the end of 2014/5 season.
  • A.S. Nordia Jerusalem – The club was founded in 2014 by Beitar Jerusalem fans, in protest against the racist tones of other Beitar fans in the previous years.[60] The club entered the Israeli football league system at its lowest level, liga Gimel in 2014.

Italy[edit]

Japan[edit]

  • Fujieda MYFC – funded by online subscribers and is the first of its kind in Japan.
  • Yokohama F.C. – The club was formed in 1999, following the merger of the city's two J. League clubs, Yokohama Flügels and Yokohama Marinos the previous year. Flügels supporters, whose club was essentially dissolved, rejected the suggestion that they should start supporting Marinos, their crosstown rivals. Instead, with money raised through donations from the general public and an affiliation with IMG, the talent management company, the former Flügels supporters founded the Yokohama Fulie Sports Club. Following the socio model used by FC Barcelona, the Fulie Sports Club created Yokohama F.C., the first professional sports team in Japan owned and operated by its supporters.

Mali[edit]

  • Jeanne d'Arc FC – At the end of the 2006/07 season, a group of Stade Malien supporters broke away to form their own football club, taking the "Jeanne d'Arc" name with them. The name is a reference to one of two defunct clubs which combined to form Stade Malien, Jeanne d'Arc du Soudan (founded 1938) in 1960. In late 2007 this group formed Jeanne d'Arc FC Bamako, which competed in lower division football during the 2007/08 season.

Nigeria[edit]

Poland[edit]

  • Górnik 1979 Łęczna – a club founded in 2011 by Górnik Łęczna fans who were unhappy with the name change to GKS Bogdanka. The club eventually changed its name back in 2013 but the fan owned counterpart has continued to operate in amateur football leagues. On 22 August 2014 the club withdrew from all competitions and ceased to operate, the reason cited were the lack of funds and the fact that the original Górnik Łęczna team went to back to its original name scrapping the GKS Bogdanka name.[62]
  • Hutnik Nowa Huta – Hutnik Kraków fans who were unhappy with the club management decided to take the club into their own hands and try to restore the clubs former glory, after the team was dissolved due to its debts. It was refounded as Hutnik Nowa Huta in 2010 and was admitted to the fifth tier.
  • KKS Wiara Lecha – club founded by Lech Poznań supporters in 2011. Only active supporters can play in the team and they have to have made a contribution to the supporter scene in order to be admitted to the squad.
  • KSF Zielona Góra – football club founded by fans of speedway team Falubaz Zielona Góra.
  • TMRF Widzew – club created by Widzew Łódź fanatics. The club was created because fans of the original Widzew have been in a long conflict with the club board. Only Widzew supporters can play in the team.

Portugal[edit]

Romania[edit]

Scotland[edit]

  • Clyde F.C.
  • Dunfermline Athletic F.C. - Taken over by community group Pars United in October 2013.
  • East Stirlingshire F.C.
  • Heart of Midlothian F.C. - In 2014, when the club were in administration, the Edinburgh club was bought over by Ann Budge. As part of the terms of her takeover, Budge agreed to hand the club over to the fan group, Foundation of Hearts, over a five-year period in exchange for the fans' generosity while the club was in administration. The 2014/15 away strip featured Foundation of Hearts as its chief sponsor, and the 2015/16 third strip will feature the names of 8000 supporters who donate to the foundation.[63]
  • Motherwell F.C. - In March 2016, 76% shareholder Les Hutchison handed his shares over to the Well Society for £1
  • Stirling Albion F.C.
  • St Mirren FC In July 2016 former club director Gordon Scott and the St Mirren Independent Supporters Association had a joint bid accepted for a majority stake in the club.[64]

South Korea[edit]

Spain[edit]

Sweden[edit]

All sports clubs in Sweden are owned by its members. The Swedish Sports Confederation allows clubs to create limited companies together with investors as long as the club controls a majority of the votes.[65]

Turkey[edit]

Almost all sports clubs in Turkey are owned by its members.

United States[edit]

Uruguay[edit]

Wales[edit]

Australian Rules football[edit]

AFL:

Baseball[edit]

Basketball[edit]

Canadian Football[edit]

Futsal[edit]

Ice hockey[edit]

Canada[edit]

United States[edit]

Poland[edit]

Rugby League[edit]

Australia[edit]

NRL:

United Kingdom[edit]

RFL:

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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