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Football Supporters Europe & SD Europe: spring round-up

The FSA works with two organisations, Football Supporters Europe (FSE) and SD Europe, to represent and promote the interests of football supporters at European level. To keep FSA members up-to-date on that work, we’ve rounded up some of the recent highlights from our friends at FSE and SD Europe…

New COO and Head of Governance

FSE was pleased to announce the arrival of Cork City fan Niamh O’Mahoney as COO and Head of Governance. 

She brings a wealth of experience in terms of football, communication and sports governance, having served on the board for Cork City between 2010 and 2014, led as project manager for the ‘Improving Football Governance through Supporter Involvement and Community Ownership’ preparatory action and as an establishing member of the Irish Supporters Network in 2019. 

O’Mahoney said she was “really delighted to be able to join the FSE team and work with groups that are committed to making the lives of football supporters better, everywhere they go.” 

Elsewhere, Martin Endemann is now the new Head of Policy and will be focusing on the overall strategy and partnerships of FSE, such as the work involving UEFA competitions, human rights, diversity and anti-discrimination.

EFFC22 and SD Europe AGM

Preparations have been in motion ahead of the biennial European Football Fans Congress, which will be hosted in Frankfurt from the 21st to the 24th of July.

Henning Schwarz, CEO of the Eintracht Fan Department, said that subjects of interest to fans would be those of “the threat of a European super league” as well as “anti-Semitism, other forms of discrimination, digitisation, ticket prices, and youth participation”. 

On Sunday the 17th of July, SD Europe will travel to Ireland for the Annual General Meeting, which will be held at Dalymount Park – the home of fan-owned Bohemian FC – in Dublin. The AGM will run between 10am-1pm.

The AGM will be a hybrid in-person and online event which will bring together the network of national supporters’ organisations, local supporters’ groups and member-run clubs from across Europe. Members have been sent notice, the agenda and further information on how to participate. SD Europe looks forward to welcoming members in person.

Europa League final debriefing

Following the final of the Europa League on the 26th of May, where Eintracht Frankfurt prevailed on penalties against Rangers in Seville, representatives of FSE and both clubs met to debrief and discuss organisational issues.

Discussions were centred around problems regarding a severe lack of both food and water – especially prominent in the rocketing temperatures – as well as organisational issues involving the likes of policing and body searches. All parties applauded the mutual respect and calmness between both sets of supporters and will report back to UEFA and the Spanish local authorities to make sure these problems don’t happen at a European final again. Speaking of which…

French senate hearings

On the 21st of June supporters’ representatives provided evidence to the French Senate Law and Culture Committee in Paris after an inquiry was launched into events that occurred at the Champions League final.

Each participant outlined several organisational failures which led to potentially fatal crushes outside the turnstiles, the tear gassing of peaceful supporters and several changes and delays to the kick-off time.

LDSA representative Ted Morris highlighted the impact towards the disabled Liverpool fans and Spirit of Shankly representative Joe Blott held the actions of the police accountable before concluding with a demand for “a full apology and a retraction of the lies”.

FSE are continuing to assist the investigation by the Senate and will maintain pressure on other relevant authorities to make sure the events in Saint-Denis are never repeated.

Fans Matter! and Kick-Off! Meetings:

From the 10th to the 12th of June, supporters’ organisations, member-run football clubs and national associations united in Malaga for meetings of SD Europe’s E+ and UEFA co-funded Fans Matter! and Kick-Off! Meetings.

Fans Matter! focuses on building the capacity of member-run football clubs and supporters’ organisations, mainly centring on the grassroots level of the game. Meanwhile, Kick-Off!’s aims are to bring national associations and supporters’ organisations together to establish long-term relationships.

In Malaga, partners were given updates from SD Europe on the projects’ administration and delivered progress reports on their activities up-to-date. They were also allowed the opportunity to take advantage of the in-person aspect and develop relationships and networking to share experiences, best practices and advice.

The secretary of Spanish fans’ group FASFE (Accionistas y Socios del Fútbol Español) Emilio Abejón, commented that, “We are very happy to have hosted the project meetings. At last, we have been able to meet and discuss the progress in both projects.” RFEF representative Marina Miguel added, “Fans are the heart and soul, the reason why football has always been so popular and it’s only right to have their opinions heard and represented in decision-making.” The General Secretary of Sandlanders, Ayodeji Adebergno, also offered, “We leave with a refreshed vigour to deliver the desired results at the end of both projects.”

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Funding partners

  • The Football Association
  • Premier Leage Fans Fund

Partners

  • Gamble Aware
  • Co-operatives UK
  • FSE
  • Kick It Out
  • Level Playing Field
  • Living Wage Foundation
  • Pledgeball