How does it work?
Sandlanders Football is a mutual society incorporated and headquartered in the UK but owned by the African sports clubs and supporters’ groups we work with.
Our board of directors is a mixture of professionals from the UK and Africa and includes lawyers, marketing professionals, bankers, sports management experts and local football association representatives.
Our club and supporter group members operate in line with co-operative principles meaning they are founded on the basis of voluntary and open membership, democratic member control, member economic participation and concern for the community. In each country we work with the local co-operative alliance to monitor the clubs and groups and ensure best practice on an ongoing basis.
International football fans can also register to join our club and supporter group members through sandlanders.com.
We are careful to avoid conflicts of interest in our work. We operate on a non-discriminatory basis and our membership is open to any club able to meet certain basic criteria universally acknowledged to be consistent with good practice (such as providing evidence of registration as a legal entity and the annual filing of accounts). We do not hold an economic interest in any of the clubs we work with and our network members have no involvement in the consultancy services provided by Sandlanders.
Why the co-operative model?
Co-operatives put people at the heart of the business they do. They follow a broader set of values than those associated purely with making a profit. Because co-operatives are owned and democratically-controlled by their members (individuals or groups and even capital enterprises) the decisions taken by co-operatives balance the need for profitability with the needs of their members and the wider interests of the community.
A co-operative is an autonomous association of persons united voluntarily to meet their common economic, social, and cultural needs and aspirations through a jointly-owned and democratically-controlled enterprise. Ranging from small-scale to multi-million dollar businesses across the globe, co-operatives employ more than 100 million women and men and have more than 800 million individual members.
In the context of football there is a growing movement towards supporter owned clubs, a model already successfully adopted in Spain and Germany and now gaining influence in the UK through the work of Supporters Direct of which Sandlanders Football is an associate member.
Every local member of a Sandlanders club gets a membership card as evidence of their ownership of the club and we hope that by supporting the communities in which they operate, the clubs will develop strong relationships with local supporters and will grow large fan bases as a result.
What are the challenges of playing for or managing a lower league team in Africa?
Despite the growing influence of African football stars such as Didier Drogba, Michael Essien and Samuel Eto’o on Europe’s top leagues, domestic African football still faces many challenges. To a large extent clubs are under-funded and lacking in basic infrastructure. The growth in popularity of televised European leagues has resulted in fewer fans attending local games which further reduces revenues for local clubs.
At Sandlanders Football we assist our clubs to function as effective businesses run for the benefit of the community and look to develop the business and technical infrastructure lacking in grassroots African football.
What is the legal status of the Sandlanders Football network and how are you regulated?
Sandlanders Football is a mutual society set up for the benefit of the community. Our members are African football clubs which are all registered or in the process of registering as co-operatives under the laws of their respective places of incorporation.
Sandlanders Football has separately entered into a joint venture with Chembe Ventures to fund and manage sandlanders.com and our other online interests. Sandlanders Technology CIC is a UK registered non-profit Community Interest Company; set up to manage the online activities of Sandlanders Football and to allow it to develop innovative online solutions for the benefit of the clubs and communities in which we operate.
Sandlanders Football Limited and Sandlanders Technology CIC are regulated in the UK by the Financial Services Authority (registration number 30964R) and the Community Interest Regulator (registration number 7420295), respectively.
A full list of criteria is available on request.
What level are the clubs at?
We work with both amateur and professional sides and Sandlanders clubs compete at various levels in Africa’s domestic leagues. Ultimately we would expect improvements in the way the clubs are set up to allow them to advance to their respective top divisions and eventually to be able to compete at a continental level.
If you work with or are aware of a club that may meet our criteria, please contact us and we will be happy to discuss our network in greater detail.
Clubs in the Sandlanders network are obligated by the rules of the network to set up and run their own community development initiatives. One of our key aims is to show how football clubs can play a valuable role in the community and Sandlanders Football has set up specific funds which will be applied to education, healthcare and local business development.
How is Sandlanders Football financed?
Sandlanders Football is currently financed by private donations.
Our long terms revenue streams are predicted to be as follows:
grant funding from the co-operative network and from other non-profit funds;
fees from our consultancy work;
corporate sponsorship (we will centrally market the clubs and negotiate competitive sponsorship agreements on their behalf); and
revenue from membership schemes and merchandising through sandlanders.com
Seed capital and initial operating costs for Sandlanders Technology CIC have been provided by Chembe Ventures. We plan to use the capital provided to roll out many new features over the coming months and are currently seeking additional funding to develop sandlanders.com into a highly functional social network. Please contact us if you would like any further details.
How much of the annual subscription fees for Sandlanders members go to the clubs?
10% of the fee is provided to Sandlanders Technology CIC and applied to further the development of sandlanders.com.
The remainder of the fee (less cost of contents and delivery in the case of Silver and Gold packages – if you would like to know the cost of the wristbands, certificates and shirts at any given time feel free to Contact Us) will go to the club you are supporting. We will publish figures detailing how much is getting back to the clubs once orders have started to come in.
Where does the money go?
Clubs and supporters’ groups use the money raised to help them to develop infrastructure projects such as training facilities and community centers and in line with their objects each club and supporter group will invest part of the money raised into local community projects and businesses.
How can I get involved?
You can become an associate member of any of our member clubs and supporters’ groups. By becoming a Sandlander you will be making a very real difference to the development of football in Africa and you will be able to follow the progress of your club and interact with other supporters through sandlanders.com.
As a basic associate member you will receive an e-certificate and will be written up in a special register at one of our club houses in Africa. We also have a number of other membership packages that allow you to show your support and receive some hard evidence of your involvement in the form of wristbands, certificates and club shirts. Now you can wear the club shirt and become a real supporter of a club in Africa. If you are a supporter visiting us from a country with a Sandlanders club or supporters’ group, you can become a Sandlander for free.
Is there anything I can do to help promote Sandlanders?
Please tell your friends and colleagues about us. You can also follow us on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.
I am involved with a football club in Europe/Asia/North America/South America. Is there anything we can do to get involved in the Sandlanders project on an interclub level?
Please click here for information on our Affiliate Club Scheme. If you would like more information please get in touch. We’d love to hear from you.
Our company/office/school would like to become a corporate/institutional sponsor of one of the Sandlanders clubs?
Great. Please get in touch so that we can discuss how best you can help.
I will be in an area where there is a Sandlanders club soon. Is it ok if I pay a visit?
Absolutely. Just tell us when you expect to arrive and we’ll make sure that someone from the club is there to show you around. Hopefully, you’ll be able to watch a game or a training session too.
How can I connect with other members?
Next year we hope to add features to sandlanders.com which will allow you to see and communicate with other subscribers. Until then, we suggest you connect with fellow subscribers by commenting on news items, joining our Facebook page or following us on Twitter.