Supporters organisations, member-run football clubs and national associations came together on 10th-12th June 2022 for simultaneous meetings of SD Europe’s E+ and UEFA co-funded Fans Matter! and Kick-Off! projects.
“Fans Matter!” focuses on building the capacity of member-run football clubs and supporters organisations, particularly at the grassroots level of the game. Whilst “Kick-Off!” seeks to bring together national associations and national supporters organisations to establish long term relationships.
Representatives of FASFE, Supporters In Campo, Israfans, Nork Supporterallianse, Supporterscollectief Nederland, Unsere Kurve, Sandlanders, KSK Beveren, PAC Omonoia, DFB, FIGC, RFEF, NFF and project advisory board members were in attendance.
Hosted in scenic Malaga, Spain, the partners received updates from SD Europe on the projects’ administration and delivered progress reports on their activities to date.
Project partners report back on their progress to date
Kick-Off! partners also took part in bilateral meetings with the supporters organisations and national associations sitting down together with research expert Daniel Cade to digest their progress so far.
Partners also were able to take advantage of the in-person event after 2 years of the projects being predominantly online by developing their relationships and networking with each other to share experiences, best practices and advice.
The weekend also saw FASFE and RFEF cooperate to deliver installments of its Fans Matter! training on ‘effective board members’ to member-run clubs and supporters organisations in Spain.
Finally, the weekend was capped off with attendees visiting Malaga CF’s La Rosaleda Stadium to watch Spain’s 2-0 win over Czechia in a UEFA Nations League group match.
Following the weekend’s activities Emilio Abejón, Secretary of FASFE, commented “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.
The recent developments in our game have shown the importance of our work in order to create sustainable democratic clubs able to exploit the incredible positive social impact that football has. There is a consensus now that not everything is acceptable in the process of commercialising our game.
The social aspect of football is vital and fan involvement is the only way to guarantee that it is preserved.”
Marina Miguel, the projects’ representative from RFEF added “The SD Europe projects weekend in Málaga was a success and a milestone with regards to the relationship between federations and fan associations. It's a huge step in the right direction and I am confident there will be more.
Giving fans a voice and the correct representation is essential in any sport, even more within football which has such a massive social and cultural impact. 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.”
Ayodeji Adebergno, General Secretary of Sandlanders, who are taking part in both projects, offered “it was a great experience this weekend, we are very happy to be taking part in both of these projects. It gave us the opportunity to present how far we have come in the project in Africa and listen to the other partners and they progress they have made in their respective countries across Europe.
We leave with a refreshed vigour to deliver the desired results at the end of both projects. We would like to thank SD Europe for the invitation and FASFE for putting together an incredible itinerary. We are looking forward to the next project meetings.”
SD Europe would like to sincerely thank FASFE and RFEF for hosting the event and thank all attendees for joining.