FOOTBALL fans will be given a legal right to buy their football clubs following a two-year campaign.

The Scottish Government has put forward amendments to its Community Empowerment Bill, expected to pass at Holyrood on Wednesday, that will form the basis for handing fans powers over buy outs before a consultation takes place in the summer.

In March, MSPs agreed to amend the Bill to extend the right-to-buy, which it was originally planned would apply to community groups over land, to football clubs.

It is envisaged that fans' trusts will get first refusal to buy their club should it be put up for sale, while they may also be given rights to purchase shares, including a controlling interest, at any point.

Green MSP Alison Johnstone said: "Over the years, far too many fans of Scottish football have had to watch from the sidelines as their clubs excluded them from decision-making, as clubs were spectacularly mismanaged, and as far too many clubs fell into administration.

"It's time for supporters to be put at the heart of the game, and a fans' right to buy is essential for that. While a club is in good hands, as many are, this right to buy would never be used, but even at those clubs, fans know good owners come and go.

"Fans will always be the best long-term trustees of a club's interests, and now, for the first time, Ministers will have the powers to bring in that crucial right to buy. It's not good enough for fans to be called on only when a club has gone bust."

She added: "I therefore welcome the Scottish Government's agreement that these powers should be delivered, and I am also grateful to Labour and Liberal Democrat MSPs for their support for a fans' right to buy during this process."

The Greens will support the Government amendments as well as advocating making further changes to the Bill that would allow loans or grants to be made available to support fan buy-outs, and to guarantee that the Scottish Government acts promptly once the consultation is concluded.

In polling conducted last year, the principle of a fans' right to buy was backed by almost three quarters of respondents expressing a view, and 89 per cent supported the option of loans or grants to help fans complete buy-outs.