Scottish champions Rangers to allow fans to buy shares in club

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Scottish champions Rangers are to allow supporters to buy into the club with a £6.75 million "one share, one vote" equity offering on Friday.

The share sale, which requires a minimum investment of £500, will give supporters voting rights and attendance at the Annual General Meeting, with the funds raised from the offering due to be used to invest in a new £1 million pitch at the Ibrox and an entertainment and conference venue that will also act as a fan zone on match days.

Greater fan ownership and influence in football clubs has become a high-profile issue in recent weeks since the failed attempt by 12 clubs from England, Italy and Spain to form a breakaway European Super League (ESL).

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Manchester United co-chairman Joel Glazer told supporters at a fans' forum earlier in June that the Old Trafford club will create a fan share ownership scheme, while discussions have also taken place between Liverpool's American owners and the club's fans.

But Rangers, who have already sold 44,500 season tickets for the 2021-22 campaign after winning the title under manager Steven Gerrard last season, believe they are laying down the blueprint for greater fan influence at clubs with their share offering, which has a registration deadline of 17:59 BST on June 11.

"A share issue for supporters is something the current owners have been talking about since taking over at the club in 2015," Rangers managing director Stewart Robertson told ESPN. "They are all Rangers fans, not just investors, and they want to give the supporters the opportunity to own their own little bit of the club.

"Back in 2015, the club was in a mess and it would have been a very risky investment for any supporter, but with the club set to celebrate our 150th anniversary next year and all the progress that has been made on and off the pitch, culminating in the league title this year, this is the right time to do it.

"The ESL situation has brought fan ownership into sharp focus and perhaps the Rangers share issue is a model for other clubs to consider going forward.

"There is an €8m (£6.75m) limit to the initial offering, but if it goes well and is over-subscribed, we could maybe do it again in a years' time."

Unlike ESL rebels United, Manchester City, Chelsea, Liverpool, Arsenal and Tottenham, who are all owned by a wealthy individual, investment group or family, none of the major investors in Rangers have own more than 15% of the club.

"As a club, we have fallen foul of the one owner model in the past," Robertson added. "But with nobody owning more than 15%, it takes away the pressure of being reliant on one individual.

"It also allows for fans to feel they have voice and influence with the share issue because one share will give them a vote on what happens at Rangers."