What is a Fan Advisory Board? The Celtic Trust Explains

The Celtic Trust…

The Celtic Star recently attended a meeting held by The Celtic Trust in Glasgow to discuss with representatives of the Celtic fan media the remit and the objectives of The Celtic Trust with the objective being to widen the understanding among the Celtic support and provide a stronger voice for the Celtic support in the running of our own football club. A few of the websites were in attendance and several of the prominent podcasts including the likes of Celtic Exchange and The Cynic. And the Green Brigade were also there.

Celtic Chairman Peter Lawwell and Chief Executive Michael Nicholson in the directors box. Celtic v Kilmarnock, Cinch Scottish Premiership, 17 February 2024. Photo Stuart Wallace Shutterstock

South of the Border the English Premier League clubs are busy creating their own Fan Advisory Board and whisper it, it even looks like happening over in Govan. Recently Celtic held one of the club’s fans forums where the likes of Michael Nicholson, the Celtic CEO comes along and answers questions put by the participants. Not to discredit that initiative in any way, on a something is better than nothing basis, you still need to ask yourself if it’s alright for example for Everton to have a Fan Advisory Board then why would it be a bad idea for Celtic to have one?

But most supporters won’t really understand what a Fan Advisory Board is and what it would mean at Celtic, so The Celtic Trust agreed to provide fan media with some basic information to share with the Celtic support and this covers three distinct subjects, the other two being ‘what exactly is The Celtic Trust and the other ‘what exactly is the Drive for Five’ – we will feature these on The Celtic Star and on our new site at Celticshorts.com over the next few days.

But this evening we start with hopefully providing an explanation as to what exactly is a fan advisory board. We’d love to hear your comments on this – good, bad or indifferent – and we’ll certainly involve The Celtic Trust if there are questions you’d like answered.

Celtic v St Mirren – Peter Lawwell and Michael Nicholson in the stands during the cinch Premiership match at Celtic Park, Wednesday November 1, 2023. Photo Andrew Milligan

Factsheet: What is a Fan Advisory Board?

The recent European football governance crisis prompted the UK government to undertake an independent Fan Led Review of Football Governance in 2021. One of the main reasons for the crisis is due to the disinterest of large football clubs, which can include Celtic, in facilitating meaningful fan engagement that would support club governance and accountability in relation to their clubs’ football business strategies.

The UK Fan Led Review (Crouch, 2021) acknowledges that a major improvement of the governance of football clubs requires a Fan advisory board (FAB). It is recognised by the review that the FAB is the most effective form of fan and shareholder engagement when 100% fan ownership is not feasible (Crouch, 2021).

The UK Fan Led Review (Crouch, 2021) calls for an independent, stakeholder elected fan advisory board (FAB).

The advisory board will not be a forum for supporters to discuss operational football matters with the club, e.g. team formation, player performance and so on.

The Review also concluded that the advisory board members should be able to discuss most matters with the wider stakeholder (fan & small shareholder) base but will have suitable confidentiality obligations on ‘sensitive matters’, e.g. financial matters, which cannot be discussed outwith the advisory board.

The UK Fan Led Review emphasised that the FAB needs to be independent and have elected supporter representatives from a cross-section of the supporter base, which in Celtic PLC’s case could include small shareholders, season ticket holders, and fan organisations.

Fan Advisory Board  aims and objectives:

To provide the broadest representation possible of the Celtic Football club’s (Celtic PLC’s) worldwide fan and small shareholder base, representing key groups within the base rather than individuals.To have a base that ensures the best possible representation of our supporters and shareholders.

To create a constructive advisory board for stakeholders (supporters and shareholders) to discuss and put forward key strategic matters affecting our iconic club and fan/shareholder base.

To initiate and continue a direct, open and two-way communication between the Club and supporters (fans and small shareholders).

To allow our iconic Club to provide clarity and context on any key strategic decisions that have made.

To enable fans and small shareholders to play a key role in improving the supporter experience and shaping the future of Celtic Football Club (Celtic PLC) on and off the field.

A joint tribunal to mediate/resolve disputes between FAB and Celtic PLC.

For more information read this…Fan Engagement and Football Club Governance: Celtic, Supporters’ (advisory) ‘shadow board’ and the Celtic Trust – Celtic Trust

Comments, opinions, observations and questions welcome below…HH

About Author

The Celtic Star founder and editor, who has edited numerous Celtic books over the past decade or so including several from Lisbon Lions, Willie Wallace, Tommy Gemmell and Jim Craig. Earliest Celtic memories include a win over East Fife at Celtic Park and the 4-1 League Cup loss to Partick Thistle as a 6 year old. Best game? Easy 4-2, 1979 when Ten Men Won the League. Email editor@thecelticstar.co.uk

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