PRESS RELEASE – Review of the Game debate set for 31st January

Date: 26th January 2024

PARLIAMENT to discuss independent regulation for SCOTTISH Football

In the first-ever debate of its kind in the Scottish Parliament, politicians from all parties will hear calls for the independent scrutiny and regulation of the governance, finance and conduct of Scottish football next week.

The idea is emerging as a serious proposition in Scotland at the same time as legislation is being introduced at Westminster for an independent regulator for the game in England.

It will come up in response to the ‘Enhancing Scottish Football ’ motion tabled by Ben MacPherson MSP with all-party backing, and will be discussed in the afternoon session on Wednesday 31st January.

The proposal for independent regulation of the Scottish football authorities and of those who own clubs is the central feature of the report on Rebuilding Scottish Football: A Fan-Led Review of The Game in Scotland, produced last year after extensive consultation with stakeholders across the game.

The report has been published by the Scottish Football Supporters Association (SFSA), which says that it creates a major opportunity to restore trust in the way the national game is run, achieve supporter representation at all levels of decision making, and achieve a culture of transparency, accountability, responsibility and inclusion at all levels.

“It’s important that Scotland does not get left behind in this practical conversation about how to build scrutiny and accountability into the heat of what we are doing,” says SFSA CEO Stuart Murphy.

He continued: “This is about ensuring that fit-and-proper people run the game, that public interest comes first, that Scottish football is run for the benefit of communities and supporters (the paying customer) – and that independent scrutiny and accountability is normalised as a way of achieving the best outcomes and building the confidence that has been lacking among ordinary fans.”

Research conducted by highly qualified German sports academics for the SFSA several years ago indicated a massive gulf in expectation and confidence around how the game is run in Scotland.

“Our report provides the key opportunity to bridge that gap,” says Murphy. Our approach is positive, but we also cannot ignore the horror stories that exist across the game in terms of the wrong people sometimes getting their hands on clubs. This has to change.

“The growing success of the women’s game and the European success of the men’s national team show the potential that exists. But further progress depends upon real transparency and accountability, as has also been recognised in England.”

The SFSA says it would like a round-table or working group established bythe Scottish Parliament to take these ideas and concerns forward, and to consider what a legislative component to scrutiny would look like in Scotland. “It’s about action, not just words,” says SFSA’s Stuart Murphy, a former club director himself.

– ENDS –

For further information and comment, contact:

Paul Goodwin 07702 252519


On 5th February the paper will be presented in Westminster to bring in an independent regulator for English Football

(1) Motion S6M-11073 – ‘Enhancing Scottish Football’, and allied debate:

(2) Rebuilding Scottish Football: A Fan-Led Review of The Game (Scottish Football Supporters Association. Scottish Football Alliance, 2023). PDF:

(3) Benchmarking survey conducted by sports academics in 2017.

Posted in: Latest News, Review of the Game