In a move which could affect some rugby league clubs, the government Treasury has been urged to give tax breaks to community owned sporting clubs.
The proposal recommends creating a new tax status for democratically owned clubs that meet strict criteria, including reinvesting surpluses and protecting assets for community use.
Clubs would benefit from Gift Aid on donations, receive 80 percent rate relief and have exemption from Corporation Tax.
This would help to generate big net benefits for the communities in which such clubs are based.
It would also help clubs to overcome the barriers that they face to development, many of which are financial in nature.
The report urging the change has been launched at an MP’s briefing at Westminster this week.
James Mathie from Supporters Direct, believes that the time is right for British sport as a whole to adopt models of democratic ownership.
“With the right model, sports clubs can be central hubs of delivering benefits in their community – and community ownership provides added value that other forms of ownership cannot.
“We believe it’s time to help clubs that embrace democratic ownership, binding community benefit functions, and protect sports assets.”
Adam Brown from Substance, a driving force behind the proposal and the research behind it, feels that the report shows the worth of moving to this model of club ownership.
“We have demonstrated the very significant value that supporter and community ownership can bring in terms of public benefit,” he said.
“The proposed tax changes would be cost effective and enable existing community owned clubs to be more sustainable, increasing the public good they deliver. We have shown that this applies beyond football into lots of other sports.”
The proposal will also be addressed by the Governments Expert Working Group on Football Ownership and Engagement which will be published in January 2016.