Financial Fair Play: A Fan Voice


  • An overwhelming majority of those polled would like to see some sort of Financial Fair Play (FFP) in domestic football to protect our game against future financial failures
  • An overwhelming majority of those polled did not think that domestic FFP would negatively impact on the enjoyment of football
  • The existing protections that have been put in place by the SFA and league bodies are overwhelmingly considered not fit for purpose by those polled
  • Opinion is considerably more split on which leagues any such FFP ought to apply to
  • Opinion is also relatively split on the extent of the financial requirements that it should be considered necessary to meet
  • Cost appears to be an important relevant factor to the implementation of such a regime, but not overwhelmingly so

With deepest apologies that this has taken longer than had been intended, please find the results to date of our polling of football fans on the issue of the finances of football clubs.  Thank you to all who gave their time and provided an opinion in response to this article.

For context, we had been discussing the issue of risk and protections in place within the Scottish game having become deeply concerned that the failures of the past do not appear to have resulted in the sort of risk-management that would prevent our game being plunged into further trouble and see further community institutions put in danger.  We’ve written about this in the past including our articles “The Ongoing Case for FFP in Domestic Football” and “Stigma in Scottish Football- Intro and Part 1: Too Big To Fail”.

We later discussed with the SPFL exactly where they stood on the issue. It appeared that they felt that clubs had ‘no appetite’ for further steps to mitigate the risk of failure and felt that the measures in place had been successful (as opposed to lucky) in limiting financial failures since Dunfermline and Hearts ran into trouble in the aftermath of the Rangers collapse.

This, we felt, was unlikely to be the way fans and communities felt about how the clubs they love are kept from imploding and so we asked the questions.

The data you have given us will be used in future articles and hopefully can help provide a persuasive voice that fans do know what they are talking about and should not be excluded from having a voice in the game they love. While power is concentrated in clubs and clubs not responsible to fans, it seems all we can do is to hope to be heard and make a persuasive case.

If you have not yet given your voice to this subject and wish to, it remains open and available for a short time more.  We also remain available to discuss this through Twitter (@fansscarves). The results to date now follow.

The Response Data

Note that the first and last of these explanatory diagrams are very similar and intentionally placed at either end to get a gauge on whether the questions asked had the effect of changing opinion rather than establishing it.  Notably the only seeming change in opinion was that having thought through the questions asked, 2% of those that were uncertain at the start were of the view that it was a positive thing.

The very first question asked related to the team the respondent supported. This was intended as a check to ensure a reasonable cross-section.  The results showed that of the 299 respondents, around 60% of those completing it were Celtic fans, which may have some influence on the results.  The next largest groups were Rangers, Aberdeen, Hibs and Hearts in that order. The remainder were largely dispersed between 19 other clubs. Due to the large number of Celtic fans, I’m minded to place less stock in the opinion on clubs in danger (showing a high number who believe Rangers are in peril) than would otherwise be the case – though notably they would have still made the list on that chart without any Celtic fan responses.



Note due to size constraints only those polling more than 10% are shown on the above.





The SPFL introduced a change some years back so that they are now notified when member clubs fall behind in their tax obligations.


The SPFL introduced a change some years back so that Clubs now receive penalties (point deductions) for entering administration or re-entering administration. 



The Financial Analysis

financial analysis1

financial analysis2

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