Actually, Spanish fans DON'T own their clubs

So a group of Liverpool fans furious with Hicks and Gillette have decided to join forces and try to buy the club themselves.100,000 fans paying £5,000 would be enough to raise the €500m they think they need to gain control.

So far, so good – and we’re with them all the way. But when will people stop using Spain as the example?

“The majority of clubs in Spain are owned by their fans,” a spokesman said. No, they’re not.

To cut a very long, very complex and very boring story short, the SAD (sporting PLC) law obliged all clubs in Spain to float back in 1999, imposing certain financial restrictions on the way the clubs were run. Most were privately owned already; all were made available to potential, private shareholders.

Only four clubs were exempted. Osasuna because of its special status as a sporting (not just a football) institution with links to a “foral” (semi-autonomous) region. And the member-owned, supposedly non-profit institutions of Athletic Bilbao, Barcelona and Real Madrid.

As founder members of the league and the only three clubs never relegated from the first division (although Athletic have been mighty close of late), they may be the most significant clubs in Spain. But there are still only three of them.

The Barça and Madrid model, maybe. But member-ownership is not “the Spanish model.”

Want proof in the shape of barmy owners sinking their clubs? Just look at Betis. Or Alavés. Or Valencia. Or ....

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