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FC United marks International Year of Co-ops by backing call for more fan-ownership

13 January 2012

Community football club FC United of Manchester has added its backing to a statement from all cooperatively-owned football clubs across the UK and Europe highlighting the importance of supporter ownership to the future of football.

Supporters Direct, which promotes sustainable spectator sports clubs based on supporters’ involvement and community ownership, organised the statement to celebrate the official launch of the United Nations International Year of Cooperatives. The year runs throughout 2012 and will highlight the important work that cooperatives do around the world.

The statement, which can be viewed on the Supporters Direct website at www.supporters-direct.org, has been circulated to all supporter-owned clubs across Europe - including FC Barcelona and a number of German Bundesliga clubs. It reiterates the importance of the supporters trust movement to the game and reminds everyone that supporter ownership is as strong as ever.

FC United of Manchester general manager, Andy Walsh, said: "FC United is proud to be linking up with other fan-owned co-operative clubs to highlight the important role supporters can have in shaping a better future for football.

Greater Manchester is recognised worldwide as one of the historic birthplaces of the co-operative movement and home to the Rochdale Pioneers.

"Our club asserts similar principles to the Rochdale Pioneers. We were established as a result of the exploitation of football fans. In a year that is celebrating the benefits of the co-operative approach, we thought that it would be a great idea to highlight the important role that fan ownership can play in football, so we approached Supporters Direct with a suggestion of how we might celebrate and promote it.

"We are proud to sign this statement of intent and to be part of a growing movement that is demonstrating a democratic, cooperative alternative to the way football is currently owned and run."

ENDS

For further information or to arrange an interview contact Andy Walker, FC United of Manchester Press and Communications Officer, on 07791 997602 or email

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