Sports fans in Scotland will be able to have a stake in their local club under new plans set out by the SNP.

Nicola Sturgeon, if re-elected, will set up Fan Bank to make it easier for supporters across the country to secure shared ownership of their club.

The SNP leader is set to lay out the plans later today at her party's manifesto, with the initiative expected to "put real power in the hands of the paying punters".

Fan Bank will give supporters and community groups the capital they need to get involved in clubs.

To be eligible to apply for the support the groups will have to show community focus and support, and to demonstrate how getting involved in running a club would support the participation of women and girls in sport.

When clubs are in financial difficulty or up for sale groups of supporters want to get involved however they don't have the resources to do so.

The Fan Bank will give them the chance to either buy a small stake in the club or take outright ownership of it.

Nicola Sturgeon is expected to say: “We know for many fans, the clubs they support play a hugely important role in their lives and dedicated fans care deeply about how their clubs perform both on and off the field of play.

"The SNP’s bold new Fan Bank initiative will give supporters real influence over the future of the clubs at the heart of Scottish communities.

"There are already a number of clubs across Scotland who are going down the route of fan ownership. But too often access to finance is a real stumbling block that prevents supporters having the opportunity to influence the way their club is run.

"Fan Bank will change that and put real power in the hands of the paying punters.

"Subject to certain criteria and commitments, fans will have access to funds that will give them a real say over how their clubs are run. That may be buying a small stake in the club or perhaps outright ownership.

"In football in particular, too often fans have watched on powerlessly as negligent or neglectful owners have made decisions that supporters have disagreed with.

"With fan Bank, supporters can hold a stake in their club and be represented with a seat at the decision-making table.

"This will help cement clubs as integral and important elements of the fabric of the communities in which they are based."