The FT highlights the rise of Keta Sandlanders, a small Ghanian club which has seen its fortunes rise thanks to the worldwide reach of the internet and offers a model of success for small clubs who are part of the local community but are struggling to survive.
The club shut down a decade ago as coastal erosion ate up the town of Keta but is up and running thanks to an online initiative which is attracting a membership base around the world.
Barcelona's co-operative system has been the inspiration behind such ventures. The spate of foreign owned soccer owners in the English league and elsewhere had created a backlash as fans desire a greater degree of control in their hands and to invest in a club that is part of the local community.
The internet has given a renewed impetus to such initiatives. We now have the Share Liverpool FC plan modeled after Barca which is utilizing Liverpool's global reach to end foreign ownership. Their goal is to raise £500m. Ebbsfleet United, the largest such online venture, is supported by more than 50,000 members who pay £35 for the right to vote on any matter related to the club, including transfers and team selection. Hapoel Kiryat Shalom, an Israeli sixth division club goes one better. The coach is advised tactical changes as the games are streamed live, by an online viewership of 10,000 members.