Of the 11 players who started out on the field for Spain’s winning World Cup team, 10 of them play for a co-operative.
Barcelona is the poster child of co-operative football and I am delighted today that, with Supporters Direct, we have launched a report and first UK version in English of the Barcelona statutes – with the support and encouragement of Barca’s outgoing President Joan LaPorta.
Barcelona has 170,000 members and is a remarkable case of democratic innovation – drawing members jury-style by lot for its Delegate Assemblies. If you want to change the Board in Barcelona, you vote for it, as 53,000 did in the elections last month. If you want to change the Board for Manchester United, as our report by Dave Boyle, points out, you have to start with £1.2 billion in your pocket.
The health warnings apply. Not all Spanish clubs are organised on anything like this model and there is if anything more of a common tradition of ownership by fans in Germany. No doubt, all clubs are feeling the pinch. And you can only grow community ownership not import it (there are fifteen clubs now in the UK organised like this with supporters trusts – the most recent is Lewes – but not in the top flight).
But perhaps there is a Spanish recipe here that we too can enjoy.