Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Co-operatively Owned Football Club Set To Launch Community Share Offer

Source: Supporters Direct

The FC United of Manchester Ten Acres Lane Community Share offer is due to be ready for publication this month.

The co-operatively owned football club was created in 2005 by several thousand disenfranchised Manchester United fans who wanted football to be brought back to the community.

It is looking to raise the estimated £3.5 million required to construct its new community stadium at Ten Acres Lane in Newton Heath from a number of sources. The Community Share scheme is targeted to raise £1.5 million of the required amount.

The scheme presents an exciting and more efficient alternative to bank borrowing. FC United is one of only ten projects being supported by Co-operatives UK and central government through the Community Share Scheme designed to enable cooperative organisations like FC United to raise finance from its communities to support expansion and development much more effectively than through traditional methods such as bank borrowing.

The club is working to ensure that the shares are eligible for the Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS) tax relief, which means that an investor may be able to offset up to 20% of investments over £500 against income tax liability.

Only club members will be able to buy Community Shares and therefore anyone who wishes to join the scheme will first need to be a member of the club (at a current annual cost of £12.00).

It is important to note that Community Shares will not carry any additional voting rights but that all those buying into the scheme and becoming members will have a democratic say in the affairs of the club; FC United will retain its one member one vote structure.
FC United is unique at its level of English football in having the club's obligations to its fan communities and local communities written into the Club Objects.

The club was awarded Cooperative UK's Cooperative Excellence Award in 2009 for its cutting edge work with local communities.

FC United seeks to change the way that football is owned and run, putting supporters at the heart of everything. It aims to show, by example, how this can work in practice by creating a sustainable, successful, fan-owned, democratic football club that creates real and lasting benefits to its members and local communities.

The FC United board has drawn up a business plan for Ten Acres Lane, which details how the new ground will operate for the benefit of both the club and the community of Newton Heath and East Manchester. The business plan shows how the site will generate enough revenue to enable the club to reinvest in itself, extend its community work and to set aside sufficient funds to cover the cost of possible interest payments and any withdrawals from the Community Share Scheme.

Further details of the scheme will be sent out and published on the club's website closer to the launch date.