"You'll Never Walk Alone": On Property, Community, and Football Fans

Avital Margalit


The fans of a football club constitute a community. This community of fans is a constitutive attribute of the club. It is part of the meaning of the football club as a resource. However, besides the cases of football clubs that are organized as members’ associations, the fans rarely have a meaningful say in the running of the club. As the history of modern football proves, the interests of the fans in the club and in the continuance of their community often come under threat. Introducing the concept of "property as belonging," this Article aims at explaining why the interests of the community of fans merit protection through the recognition of the fans’ property interest in the club. The Article analyzes various existing ways of ensuring fans a formal voice in their club, and suggests a new structure of governance of football clubs, one that conceptualizes the fans as the social or moral owners of the club and accords them special decision-making power regarding those incidents that bear a high level of risk to their community. Along with members’-association clubs, this new property institution of the football club will adhere to the idea promoted in this Article, according to which the fans belong to the club and to their community, and the club, al least in part, belongs to them.

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