Memorandum of Understanding

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Key Insights

  1. MOUs are not legally binding, but are excellent for building confidence between a club and supporters’ trust
  2. They aren’t just for clubs with supporter directors – far from it. Many clubs who have them don’t have supporter directors

A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) is described by Glasgow University A ‘non-binding agreement which outlines an intention to promote collaboration between partner institutions’ (Glasgow University). They are different from a Shareholders Agreement, in that they are not legally binding. The gov.uk website describes MOUs as:

“A statement of serious intent – agreed voluntarily by equal partners – of the commitment, resources, and other considerations that each of the parties will bring….It has moral force, but does not create legal obligations.”

In Fan Engagement terms, they are usually between a football club and a supporters’ trust. Both parties find them useful as a way of defining what each party is responsible for, and what the benefits of the relationship are. They don’t have to exist only where a club has a supporter director/fan on the board. Clubs like Norwich City FC and Nottingham Forest FC have them, and neither have this role.

A good example of an MOU is the one between Grimsby Town FC and the Mariners Trust (who have a supporter director) and that between Norwich City and the Canaries Trust. Fulham’s was the first, and is part of the one-to-one dialogue that the FST has with the board and senior management of Fulham FC.

Supporters’ Trusts who want to find out more about these agreements should contact the Football Supporters Association (FSA).

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