Saturday, March 26, 2011

From Wales Online

 Edited from: Wales Online

 Owen Smith: Regionalisation of rugby sold on a false prospectus

But more radically, I suggest the WRU should consider alternative models for the ownership, management and funding of more genuinely regional professional outfits. Mutual ownership is a tried and tested concept in sport: Barcelona Football Club or the Super Bowl Champions, the Green Bay Packers, are the two most celebrated examples of the mutual model: owned and controlled by their fans, with clear democratic and financial accountability to their supporting community. Closer to home we have the example of FC United of Manchester, the football club set up by Manchester United fans, alienated by the takeover of their club by the US businessman, Malcolm Glazer. Owned and run by its 2000 members, FC United has made it to the 2nd round of the FA Cup, won promotion three seasons in a row, and boasts the highest ever crowd attendance in non-league football. More broadly, the co-operative movement in Britain provides us both the blueprint and the tradition on which to build such formats for our own institutions – and evidence that if you build it – and it’s real – we will come.