FRENCH football clubs could be following in Pompey’s footsteps by becoming community-owned.
It comes as Colin Farmery, part of the Pompey Supporters Trust, spoke in the French parliament as part of an event to promote the involvement of French supporters in their own clubs.
It took place at the Palais de Luxembourg on Thursday, home of the French Sénat, which is the equivalent of our House of Lords.
The conference was arranged to launch the Conseil Nationale des Supporters de Football, in which groups of French fans are aiming to create a national body to represent their interests.
Colin said: ‘It was a tremendous honour to be invited by Supporters Direct Europe and the FC Nantes equivalent of a supporters’ trust – called à la Nantaise – to explain how the Pompey Supporters’ Trust put together their community bid and how supporter ownership is working at the club.
‘There were a number of speakers, including me, as well as a series of round table discussions about the future role of fans in French football.’
Pompey was taken over by its supporters in April last year after buying the club out of administration from former chairman Balram Chainrai’s company Portpin.
Now, clubs in France are keen to learn more about how community clubs and supporter ownerships work, and what the benefits are.
Colin added: ‘It is fair to say the French are significantly behind the likes of Germany and England in terms of fan engagement and I was delighted to give the project support.
‘I am a keen follower of French football myself but it is fair to say the people there were well-acquainted with what went on at Portsmouth in the recent past, as well as the success of the community bid.’
Joining Colin at the event were representatives from the French Football Federation and UEFA, as well as representatives from a number of French club supporters’ groups.
Colin also went to a workshop to support the first stages of developing the CNSF’s constitution.
He added: ‘I will be keeping in touch with the project as it develops.
‘I believe my own French club, FC Martigues, could profit from having more involvement with its supporters.’