Our friends at SFSU have began a series of interviews with supporters about having influence over their football clubs, and have kindly given SD Europe permission to translate them from Swedish to share with a wider European audience.
You can read the original Swedish article here. ‘Association democracy’, as it is referred to in Sweden, is the general rule in Sweden that all clubs, no matter what sport, must to adhere to the 50+1 rule, and to the principle that one member equals one vote.
SFSU begins a series of interviews about association democracy where they talk to several different supporters. For this first edition, SFSU talks to a member of one of Malmo FF’s ultra groups; Rex Scania.
WHAT DOES ASSOCIATION DEMOCRACY MEAN FOR YOU?
“Association democracy for me means that the members move their association forward based on the ideals that are valued most. In a world where the economic authorities all too often want to run associations in other directions, association democracy is the key to preserving the identity of the clubs.”
WOULD YOUR COMMITMENT AND INTEREST LOOK DIFFERENT IF WE DIDN’T HAVE ASSOCIATION DEMOCRACY IN SWEDEN?
“Absolutely, I think that without a chance to influence, my commitment would have been worse. The knowledge that the members’ voices influence means something that the drive remains.”
HOW DO YOU FEEL THE IMPACT OF ASSOCIATION DEMOCRACY IN MALMÖ FF?
“In many different ways. The large number of members and the relatively good attendance at annual meetings are two things. You can also see it in the commitment during the annual general meetings that have taken place. It is almost always motions that are submitted or other major activity during the meetings that show commitment.”
TELL US OF ONE TIME THE MEMBERS OF MALMÖ FF WITH THE HELP OF ASSOCIATION DEMOCRACY HAVE AFFECTED MALMÖ FF AS YOU REMEMBER WITH JOY?
“When we stopped the merger with LB07 (a women’s football club). In 2019, the Malmö FF Association’s board came up with a proposal to merge with the association LB07 from Malmö. LB07’s women’s team that at the time participated in the top division Damallsvenskan would simply become Malmö FF’s women’s team and thus change its name to Malmö FF. At the same time, LB07’s youth section would also be taken over by Malmö FF. This created strong reactions among Malmö FF supporters where many believed that this meant that Malmö FF would take the easy and unsportsmanlike path to the Damallsvenskan and not fight their way up in the league systems. Many also expressed that Malmö FF would become another sort of association if the board’s proposal became a reality. At an extraordinary annual meeting on 26/11 2019, Malmö FF’s members voted against the board’s proposal for a merger with LB07. The members had spoken with a large majority – Malmö FF would start a women’s team from the lowest tier, Division 4.”
WHEN ARE YOU MOST PLEASED THAT WE HAVE ASSOCIATION DEMOCRACY IN SWEDEN?
“When Malmö FF, as the biggest advocate for association democracy, puts itself on the map in Europe against other so-called big clubs.”
WHAT WOULD YOU SAY TO THOSE WHO ARE FOR THE ABOLITION OF THE 51% RULE?
“That all attempts to abolish the 51% rule will fail.”
HOW DOES ASSOCIATION DEMOCRACY AFFECT REX SCANIA (A Malmo FF ultras group)?
“In many ways, but above all, we have requirements that all group members must also be members of Malmö FF.”
– Answers by an anonymous spokesperson of Rex Scania.
Thank you to SFSU for allowing SD Europe to reproduce this interview. It provides a fascinating insight into being a member of a football club where influence is guaranteed and instilled into its culture.
SFSU intend to publish more interview similar to this, SD Europe will continue to