This article is the third of six editions introducing the projects that were successfully chosen for the SD Europe Fund. In this piece, we discuss AKS Zły’s project which will see the club take part in exchange visits with German giants Schalke 04.
Recap: What is the SD Europe Fund?
The objective of the SD Europe Fund is to enable the members of the SD Europe network to establish their own projects that further develop supporter involvement. The SD Europe Fund sees the distribution of €12,000 to its members; €9,000 to fund three nation-wide projects and €3,000 to fund three projects with exchange visits of member-run clubs within the network. Each project chosen was constructed with SD Europe’s four principles in mind; Democracy, Cooperation, Solidarity and Sustainability.
Recap: Who were the successful applicants to the SD Europe Fund?Member-run Football ClubsNational Supporters OrganisationsPAC Omonia 1948 (Cyprus)Israfans (Israel)AKS Zły (Poland)Unsere Kurve (Germany)FC Tarraco, CAP Ciudad de Murcia, UP Palencia (Spain)Supporters Direct Scotland
Learning from the best – achieve mastery – Capacity building visit with FC Schalke 04 on General Sport Club Management
Who is involved in the project?
AKS Zły is the first ever democratic and member-run club in the Polish capital of Warsaw. It was founded in 2015, and is entirely and directly managed by its supporters, athletes and coaches who want to participate in its development. AKS ‘Zły’, which means bad or evil in Polish, in their own words want to “act against modern football, the commercialisation, and in the Polish political environment; the radicalisation of fans’. Specifically, the name ‘Zły’ is taken from a novel by Leopold Tyrmand; Zły is the Polish equivalent of Batman in the story, fighting hooliganism in Warsaw.
Schalke 04 are one of the largest football clubs in Germany, known around the world and are famed for preserving the legacy of its humble, working class beginnings within its culture. As with most but a few, Schalke 04 adhere to the 50+1 rule in German football. As a member-run football club, Schalke 04 has over 145,000 members.
Schalke 04 were one of the partners involved in SD Europe’s ‘Clubs and Supporters for Better Governance in Football’ Erasmus+ project under which it participated in two exchange visits with Malmö FF and Cork City FC, who are also member-run clubs. Its contribution to the project’s outcomes was significant, their participation in the project helped lower ranked clubs such as Murcia and Cava and high achievers such as Malmo and Cork City, who were all able to learn from Schalke 04’s wealth of experience in managing membership, volunteers and financial sustainability.
What are the project’s activities?
The visit will see six Board Members from Zły’s newly elected Board visit Gelsenkirchen and take part in discussions and meetings with Schalke04 officials and supporters. The objective of the visit is to strengthen Zły’s understanding of transparent management and strategic decision making, efficient large scale volunteer management and supporter involvement and lastly donors, sponsors and contributors acquisition and management.
During the visit, the Zły Board hopes to familiarise with Schalke 04’s social projects and to build a relationship between the two clubs forged from their commonalities.
What are the anticipated outcomes and impact at national and local/club level?
Zły are aware that, despite recent successes, to continue to be an innovative sports club, it must look for opportunities to shape a sustainable club development strategy and to seek ways to improve the efficiency of its activities whilst maintaining the emphasis on its member inclusive structure.
Despite the difference in size between the two clubs, Zły will receive the insight and knowhow they need to build on the club’s current successful structure.
The new Zły Board was elected in January 2020. Through this visit all Board Members will have the opportunity to grasp a better understanding of key areas of running a football club and gain new competencies in selected areas of management to give Zły the best chance for success.
SD Europe will be present throughout the project to guide both clubs to ensure they get the most from working and learning together. We will bring you updates on this project and its events over the coming months.
Later this week, we will bring you an introduction to Irsafans’ project so stay tuned to our social media channels.