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The SD Independent Non-Executive Director (INED) Programme

We think having people with the right skills and expertise to serve on Club Boards is vital to good governance. If you are an individual looking for a board position, or a club seeking new board members, we can help in your search.

Please read below to find out more about the programme, including how you can get involved; whether as a club or a volunteer.

Why are SD doing this?

Traditionally SD have helped Supporter Directors on football club boards, working with both supporters and clubs by providing support, training, policies and guidance to over 100 supporter directors. With the fortunate insight from this work, we believe that its time that football benefited from independent people who can play a vital role to improve good governance too.

What is an INED?

An INED is someone, without a current or past attachment to the Club, prepared to donate time to become a Board member sharing their skills and expertise.

INEDs can bring skills, specialisms and expertise to the Board, enhancing the skill set of the Directors, for example finance, HR, legal,marketing or construction.Their primary aim is to bring independence,impartiality alongside any personal skills or expertise they may have. This outside perspective helps to balance the views of other directors, and the interests of other key stakeholders (i.e.shareholders, employees, fans). It should also provide constructive challenge that is beneficial to business development and ensure the Board adheres to the principles of good corporate governance.

Where else do INEDs operate?

INED’s are nothing new and have long been part of the good governance recommendations in business, but now are increasingly prevalent in sport with last year’s Code for Sports Governance stating that any sports body wishing to receive £1million+of public funding needs to have at least 25% of the Board as INEDs. The value INEDs can bring was also recognised in the Government Expert Working Group on football supporter ownership and engagement, a group which featured all the major football stakeholders.

Do Clubs pay INEDs?

The role of an INED is unremunerated.

So why do INEDs want to become involved with clubs?

Each person will have their own personal drivers but typically INEDs are people who will share the values/vision of a Club and will want to see it flourish. They will voluntarily share their skills and expertise to help the club deliver wider social impacts to benefit the whole community.

Being an INED can be an exciting, challenging and rewarding role.Clearly the success of the club and sustainability of the business is key but working within community sport provides other rewards. It’s a fast-paced environment with a high degree of external scrutiny over how the teams are performing or the facilities are being run. But these days clubs are just as likely to be judged or appreciated away from the pitch, enjoying goodwill and delivering wider social impacts that benefit the whole community.

How much time does an INED commit to a club?

We would expect an INED to commit about a day a month to the role and serve on the Club Board for up to three years.  The overall time commitment will vary from club to club.

What does independence mean?

For an INED to be independent there should be no relationships or circumstances that could either affect, or appear to affect, their judgment. Such relationships or circumstances would include:


  • being a former employee of the Club;

  • having personally, or in a senior role in a company, had a commercial relationship with the Club;

  • having received payment from the Club in any form;

  • having close family ties with any of the Club’s advisers, directors, senior employees or players;

  • holding cross-directorships or having significant links with other directors through involvement in other relevant companies or bodies;

  • either representing or being a significant shareholder.

Why would a Club get involved in the INED programme?

As a club opening yourself up to a new pool of people, perhaps with different views experiences and background can help add a new perspective. An INED should bring constructive challenge to the Board’s discussions and will be able and willing to present thoughts that differ from the other Directors and Executives.

The involvement of one or more INED’s can also add extra reassurance to partners who are considering partnership with the club.

What skills does an INED have?

An INED will have skills and expertise acquired outside of football, but which can be utilised in sustaining and developing clubs.  They will have specialist skills, or Board level experience in another environment.

How do individuals get involved in the SD INED programme?

To read our guidance on how to become an INED please see the first attachment below

To apply to be considered as an individual on the SD INED scheme please download the second attachment below

How do clubs get involved in the SD INED programme?

To read how an INED might support your Club please see the third attachment below

To apply to be considered as a club that can benefit from the SD INED scheme please download and fill out the fourth attachment below

Still got questions?

If you still have questions and are a club or an individual interested in joining the scheme please drop an email to Richard Irving from Supporters Direct who is managing the programme Richard.irving@supporters-direct.org


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