Fans kick off a European football fans’ network – 1st European Football Fans’ Congress proved a great success10 July 2008

Football fans from 28 countries, from Norway to Israel, Ukraine to Portugal, have launched a European Football Fans’ Network, to be known as Football Supporters International (FSI).

More than 250 fans, representing over a million supporters, registered for the inaugural European Football Fans’ Congress, which was held at the Emirates Stadium in London last weekend and supported by UEFA.

The event saw the formation of a management committee with nine different countries represented, which will develop the network, organise the next Congress and work towards establishing a constitution that can help protect and represent their interests at a Europe-wide level. Fans were also involved in workshops on topics such as fan culture, policing and repression, anti-discrimination, ticketing and club ownership. On top of that, several fringe events over the entire weekend provided opportunities for an informal get-together and networking amongst the participants.

The congress was organised by the Football Supporters International network (FSI) who were delighted to observe lively debates taking place in the different sessions, all of them leading to impressive results for the development of joint action in the near future.

At the same time, FSI will also maintain its original field of work, organising fans’ embassies at international matches and tournaments, by establishing a semi-autonomous fans’ embassy department alongside the FSI steering committee.

The steering committee will consist of the following representatives:

Kevin Miles, Football Supporters Federation, England
Martin Endemann, Bündnis Aktiver Fussballfans, Germany
Dirk Vos, Supportersfederatie Profclubs (SFP), Belgium
Ashley Green, Progetto Ultrà, Italy
Shay Golub, Israfans, Israel
Moira Boyd, Asociación Señales de Humo, Spain
Michal Riechansky, ĽUdia Proti Rasizmu (People Against Racism),Slovakia
Vjegar Hjermund, Norske Supporters Allianse, Norway www.rasizmus.sk/en.stm
Daniela Wurbs, FSI-Coordination, Germany

Three members of the steering committee do also belong to the FARE – coregroup.

Daniela Wurbs, the FSI Coordinator, said:

“This event can be considered as an overwhelming initial kick-off. Both the number of participants and the diversity of countries and groups represented exceeded all our expectations. All participants at the event were highly motivated to work together for their common objectives and interests, which was clearly underlined by the comprehensive results elaborated in the workshops to define the essentials of our future agenda.

“The FSI would like to thank everyone who contributed to this highly successful event, from Arsenal FC and the staff at the Emirates, to the technicians and translators, to UEFA for their support and to the FSF as the hosts. Most importantly we thank the fans themselves, including guest speakers and chairs. The level of effort and commitment with fans travelling hundreds, if not thousands, of miles to come and get this going were astonishing.

“This is only the beginning. We got the impression that all participants of the congress are aware of this and won’t let up regarding committing themselves and getting involved in the next steps towards the establishment of a strong voice for football fans at European level.”

Notes to editors:
Football Supporters International (FSI) is an independent body comprised of various fan-related organisations from across Europe, and has provided and developed support services for fans travelling abroad for more than 15 years.

Football Supporters Federation (FSF) is the national supporters’ organisation for all football fans in England and Wales comprising more than 142,000 individual fans and members of local supporters’ organisations from every club in the professional structure and many from the pyramid. For more info http://www.fsf.org.uk/about-the-fsf.php

Administrative support for the European Football Fans’ Congress has been provided by the Football Supporters’ Federation (FSF), based in England, founding member of the FSI network and currently responsible for the overall coordination of FSI.

Further information on FSI and the congress: www.footballsupportersinternational.com .

Contact:
Daniela Wurbs, FSI Coordination: dani.wurbs@fsf.org.uk or +44 75 078 54 686.
c/o Football Supporters Federation, 1 Ashmore Terrace, Stockton Road, Sunderland, SR2 7DE, England
Contacts to the steering committee members can be obtained via the FSI Coordinating Office.