With representatives from 15 different countries in attendance, SD Europe held its very first AGM in Malmo, Sweden on Sunday (November 27th).
SD Europe formally became an independent, pan-European members organisation in September with the support of national supporter organisations across Europe as well as Uefa.
Members need to share the established beliefs and values of the existing European network, and alongside the seven national supporter organisations that subscribed to SD Europe’s constitution, five further members have now joined to represent their country.
SD Europe’s first board was elected at the meeting – consisting of Shay Golub (Israfans), Sofia Bohlin (Svenska Fotbollssupporterunionen), Mike Derham (Irish Supporters Network) and Diego Riva (Supporters in Campo), with the latter appointed as chair.
During the meeting members and observers were given updates about how the organisation came into being over the past 15 months, the day-to-day activities of the SD Europe team and how work on new strategic and business plans for the organisations are well underway.
Meeting chair and interim board member Emilio Abejón of FASFE, the Spanish national supporters organisation, recalled last September’s meeting in Hamburg where SD Europe’s growing network overwhelmingly expressed their desire for a pan-European organisation to support them in their work and highlight their collective views.
The interim board of Emilio, Diego Riva, Shay Golub, Ronan Evain and Niamh O’Mahony has worked with SD Europe staff and various stakeholders to realise that desire in the 15 months since. Cork City FC board member Shane O’Connor was thanked for his help in drafting the organisation’s statues.
CEO Antonia Hageman spoke about the organisation’s extraordinary journey since 2007 and the European network that has only become more prominent and active in the almost 10 years since, before giving an overview of activities including the ongoing Erasmus + Clubs and Supporters for Better Governance in Football project and Supporter Liaison Officer programme.
The AGM also heard a letter of support from Patrick Gasser, senior football social responsibility manager at Uefa. He offered his congratulations and commented: “We are delighted to have seen a pan-European organisation emerge that represents supporters and clubs who are dedicated to ownership and participatory democracy.”
Finally, attendees heard an outline of how SD Europe will celebrate 10 years of its network in 2017 before hearing well wishes from representatives of FSE (Football Supporters Europe), CAFE (Centre for Access to Football in Europe), and FARE (Football Against Racism in Europe).
Antonia Hagemann, CEO of SD Europe, said: “Over the last almost ten years, the network has grown in size but also in experience, knowledge and confidence. Its members support each other with the overall aim to be in evolved in the running of their clubs and for them to be a positive driver in their communities. This is a great moment for football activists across Europe, who make SD Europe what it is.”
Diego Riva, Chair of SD Europe, said: “It has been an exciting journey to our first AGM this past weekend. If I look back to when I first met SD Europe, it is simply incredible what this movement has achieved in a few short years. I am sure there will be more and more great progress made as all of our members work together for the collective benefit of everyone involved in our network.”
For further information, contact Niamh O’Mahony (Development & Media Manager, SD Europe) at firstname.lastname@example.org
About SD Europe
SD Europe is an organisation that assists democratic supporters’ groups in achieving formal structured involvement in their clubs and associations, and developing member ownership of football clubs. Established in 2007 with support from UEFA, SD Europe also advises clubs on their ownership and governance structure and works with football governing bodies, leagues, UEFA, and European institutions. Currently, it is active in over 20 European countries and is responsible for the implementation of the Supporter Liaison Officer requirement (Art. 35, UEFA Club Licensing and Financial Fair Play Regulations). For more information, contact us and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.