The Board of Hibernian announced on 29 December 2014 that it intended to widen the ownership of the Club by issuing new shares which would enable the Holding Company’s shareholding in Hibernian to be diluted below 50%.
Today the creation of Hibernian Supporters Limited is announced, a company limited by guarantee that has been established with the sole purpose and primary objectives of acquiring shares in Hibernian Football Club Ltd and to hold those shares for the benefit of the supporters of the Club.
There is a binding legal agreement between Hibernian Supporters Limited and Hibernian Football Club that guarantees the transfer of shares on receipt of funds and that those funds will only be used to further the Club’s sporting ambitions and not directed to current shareholders.
Hibernian Supporters Limited will be owned by supporters who make contributions which in turn will be used to acquire shares in Hibernian. Supporters who make contributions will not own shares directly but will own Hibernian Supporters Limited which in turn will own the shares in the Club.
Hibernian Supporters Limited is a simple alternative to holding shares directly. Acquiring shares directly requires individuals to comply with rigorous Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 regulations.
Contributions to Hibernian Supporters Limited can be made on a monthly basis or by lump sum. The more money raised the more shares can be acquired. The more shares acquired mean more involvement and influence supporters can have in the Club – there is strength in solidarity.
CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD THE ARTICLES OF ASSOCIATION (PDF)
The face of football is changing and there has been a call from supporters for greater involvement in the running of their club and its ownership model. We have seen how supporter led initiatives have worked in Germany and in Scandinavia and in Scotland we have seen turmoil in recent years as teams have fallen in and out of administration and for some liquidation.
So why contribute? We supporters have called for a change, fueled in the main by the under performance we have witnessed on the park. We have been calling for change and now the opportunity has been presented to us to shape that change, to become involved in how the future of Hibernian looks and to take a greater responsibility in the stewardship of our Club going forward.
By contributing every supporter can become part of a democratic collective that has an equality of membership through HSL that buys and holds shares for the benefit of all Hibernian supporters. The more we contribute the more shares we can buy. The more shares we have the more influence we can exert. At 20% of the total shareholding and we have a director on the Board of Hibernian Football Club and at 26% we have an effective blocking vote against proposals that would damage the future of our Club.
HSL is a simple alternative to buying shares directly. It also has a legally binding subscription agreement that means we can buy any shares that are available to purchase without limit on time. We have been guaranteed that all funds raised and used to buy shares will benefit football and not be given to the existing shareholders directly or as payment of the interest free mortgage.
The Club have a remarkable set of assets that are owned wholly by the Club and it is not in financial distress unlike others. If there was ever a time to make this change it is now.
We can sit in the stands and shout about change and do nothing or we can shout in the stands about change and take responsible and effective action to become a major voice.
A Statement by Tony Higgins, Vice President of FIFPro (Europe)
"In my capacity as Vice President of FIFPro Division Europe I regularly come across and share platforms with Supporters Direct Europe (SDE) an organisation which promotes fan involvement in the running of football clubs and is backed by the European Commission and UEFA. Supporter ownership and involvement is important because football supporters are the lifeblood of the game; economically, culturally and socially. Supporters more than any other stakeholder group make lifelong commitments to their clubs and invest in them on a long-term basis.
This lifelong commitment means that supporters have an interest in a football club that is qualitatively and quantitatively different to any other group. As such their involvement in the governance of football clubs brings an important added value, namely a long-term interest in its sustainability.
I support the involvement of Hibs fans in the ownership and running of the club. Hibs fans are a committed and passionate as any other fan groups I have met in Europe and I’m sure there will be a massive response to an initiative of this kind, particularly as it is backed by two of my former colleagues and Hibernian legends Pat Stanton and Jackie McNamara.
Many supporters across Europe, and indeed Scotland, have realised that this is the way forward for many of our clubs especially ones the size of Hibs. Supporters do not make money from football clubs they invest in them."