What is a ‘golden share’ in a football club & should fans have one?

Fans Celebrating
Friday, 29 October 2021 By Stuart Hatcher

When Tracey Crouch MP published her report[1] on the “fan led” review of football the author was taken by the referred intention to “develop proposals…to offer greater protection…through a ‘golden share’ for fans, giving veto powers over reserved items, to be held by a democratic legally constituted fan group.” (see page 4).  This was followed by both Oliver Dowden MP visiting Brentford Football Club, and his successor as Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, Nadine Dorries MP, referencing Brentford FC’s ‘Golden Share’. To the best of the author’s knowledge, Brentford FC is the only football club to date that has implemented a 'Golden Share’ in the way that Tracey Crouch describes.

As the lawyer who advised the Brentford Supporters’ Trust on the implementation of its ‘Golden Share’ (or BU Special Share as it is known), the author thought it would be worth reflecting on the key points for clubs and fans to consider in relation to such a share. This article therefore examines:

  • What is a 'Golden Share'?
  • Why should fans have a Golden Share?
  • What are the main commercial and legal considerations on implementation?

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Stuart Hatcher

Stuart Hatcher

Stuart is a Partner in the Corporate team at Forsters.  He is able to advise across the full range of domestic and international corporate law issues, including M&A, venture capital, private equity and other shareholder investments, group reorganisations and the return of value to shareholders.

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