SD Europe can confirm that Antonia Hagemann is to step down as Chief Executive Officer on 31 March 2022, and is to be succeeded by current Head of SLO Development Stuart Dykes.
Antonia started SD Europe as a project 15 years ago, during which time, through her leadership, SD Europe has become a network of like-minded fan organisations and member-run clubs from across Europe and beyond. Her belief in the importance of supporter representation in decision-making, fan ownership and the need for cooperation with the other stakeholders has been her driving force over the last 15 years. Antonia helped national supporter groups to grow and provided much needed resources, building strong relationships with football stakeholders and the European institutions. She instigated the inclusion of Supporter Liaison Officers in UEFA club licensing and oversaw six Erasmus+ and UEFA-co funded European projects worth over two million euro. During her tenure SD Europe was also granted observer status on the Council of Europe Committee on Safety & Security at Sporting Events and the European Commission’s expert groups on sports governance.
The SD Europe board has agreed unanimously following a thorough process that current Head of SLO Development Stuart Dykes is the outstanding choice to take over as CEO to bring continuity and build on the significant progress made to date by the organisation under Antonia’s leadership.
Stuart, a long-suffering Schalke season ticket holder and FC United of Manchester founding member, will be no stranger to the network and membership, having been with SD Europe since 2010. During his time with the organisation as Head of SLO Development, Stuart has played a pivotal role in facilitating the implementation of Article 35 of UEFA's club licensing regulations (Supporter Liaison Officer) on behalf of UEFA in addition to the development and management of two European wide projects focusing on the development of SLOs; LIAISE and TRANSFER. In 2020, Stuart completed the Executive Master in Global Sports Governance (MESGO) programme, graduating with a high-class distinction during which he authored his thesis titled "Fan Dialogue in France: Impact of the Law of 10 May 2016 on Strengthening Dialogue with Supporters".
Upon announcing her departure, Antonia Hagemann said “SD Europe means so much to me, especially the team, the board, our members, partners and the friends I made along the way. Thank you to everyone who has supported me throughout the last 15 years. I have learned so much from you. Now is the time to finally formalise fan involvement in decision-making and I have no doubt that Stuart and the team will take it to the next level.”
SD Europe Chair Sofia Bohlin offered “The achievements & milestones reached by SD Europe during Antonia’s time are testament to her resolute dedication to furthering the cause of European supporters. Under Antonia’s leadership SD Europe has become a strong, trusted and respected voice amongst stakeholders. Her legacy is felt across Europe and beyond and will not be forgotten anytime soon. I would like to place on record on behalf of the SD Europe board our sincere thanks to Antonia.
Whilst we are sad to see Antonia leave, we are delighted to welcome Stuart Dykes into his new role as CEO in April. Stuart was the outstanding choice given his extensive and tailored experience to SD Europe which places him well to deliver consistency and cohesion, whilst also leading the organisation forwards to new opportunities. Supported by the board and team, Antonia and Stuart are now working closely as a transition process takes place.”
On accepting the position, Stuart Dykes said: “Having been a part of the SD Europe team since 2010, I am thrilled to move into the position of CEO from April. Antonia leaves the organisation in a good state of health, making it easier for me to step in. It has been a genuine pleasure working with Antonia for over a decade and she will be a hard act to follow. I would like to thank her for all her support and guidance during the transition process.
Over the last decade or so, I have seen SD Europe mature and grow into a continental supporters organisation with an expansive network driving forward supporter influence in all its forms. The European football ecosystem finds itself in unchartered waters, and it’s vital that supporters are heard and have meaningful influence in the governance structures of their clubs and governing bodies. Whether through structured dialogue, supporter liaison or member ownership, we will build on the achievements of SD Europe to date to make certain supporters are recognised as a vital stakeholder throughout the European game.”