Supporting Scottish Community Football Clubs to Deliver Social Outcomes

  • Alan McNiven

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisProfessional Doctorate (ProfD)


The Community Empowerment Act has provided a greater range of opportunities for community football clubs around asset ownership, local engagement, and social impact. The Scottish Football Association (the Scottish FA) recognised the need to respond to the impact of the Act and designed the Developing Community Football Clubs Project which undertook work in partnership with community development support organisations. The initial activity of the Developing Community Football Clubs Project, which was funded through the Growing Community Assets (GCA) Big Lottery funding stream, led to the identification of three pilot community football clubs, each of which had the potential to gain significant benefits from the programme of activities. As well as helping the pilot clubs to develop their community impact plans, there was also the expectation that the project would feed into a longer-term business plan which would outline how the Scottish FA will adapt to support future approaches for community football club development.

The research considered the approach of the Scottish FA’s Developing Community Football Clubs Project and looked to identify future potential operational methods for the Scottish FA in promoting and developing the community impact of Scottish football clubs. The research shows that community football clubs can benefit from engagement with support organisations, who are often outside of the sport and confirms that any community football club seeking to gain the advantages of operating as a charity should make use of widely available guidance in advance of taking that step. There is also a need for the Scottish FA to properly assess, in five critical themes, the fitness of a community football club in advance of engaging them in formal development programmes. The opportunity and action required for the Scottish FA to act as an interface for all community clubs seeking to engage with the wider national Third Sector network is also highlighted.
Date of Award2022
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Glasgow Caledonian University
SupervisorJohn Harris (Supervisor) & Geoffrey Whittam (Supervisor)

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