SD Europe Fund Update: Israfans

More democracy, more solidarity, more fan involvement! The SD Europe Fund channels resources directly to supporters organisations and member-run football clubs to develop their own projects to build a better football.

In a three-part series, one year on from the launch of the SD Europe Fund, we now touch base with the projects which were able to proceed despite the pandemic to receive an update on their progress to date. National supporters organisations SD Scotland, Unsere Kurve and Israfans were all able to continue with their projects.

For the final article of the three, we speak to Shay Golub, the Chair of Israfans, the national supporters organisation in Israel geared towards volunteer training. 

Who are Israfans? Israfans, the national supporters organisation in Israel, representing the interests of its member football clubs and supporters organisations. The organisation was formed in 2007 as a collective action responding to the sports-based community issues the country faced. Israfans offers advice and guidance to member-run clubs and supporters organisations in Israel, whilst championing their causes at national and international level.

What is the importance of completing the project, albeit adjusting a lot, especially during a pandemic?

It was very challenging to run the project during the pandemic. We had three lockdowns, with a bare minimum of sports competitions. So, the supporters groups themselves were restricted in what they could do.

We managed to have a few face-to-face meetings. Without them, the project couldn’t succeed.

When we applied for this project, we were aware that many of our members were experiencing new challenges with volunteers. We discussed volunteering with our members and in raising the issue itself already began initiating a change in approach to volunteering in some.

The third lockdown in Israel stopped the project’s momentum. We hope that when we have a better understanding of what will happen with the football season and when supporters and our members are more focused on sports again, we will run another round of the project.

In addition, it was the first time Israfans used an outside expert to work with our members. She (external experts) )helped us significantly with her external point of view and aided in developing materials that were used throughout the project.

What compromises did you have to make to the project activities because of the pandemic?

Unfortunately, we couldn’t have as many face-to-face meetings as we would have liked, and we needed to postpone volunteering events in one of the clubs that participated in the project.

How would summarise the success of the project so far?

It took the volunteering issue into the focus of our members. Three clubs took it, each one in their own direction specific to their circumstances. One club performed a review on their volunteering section, another assessed its current situation and specifically its needs, whilst the final club started just before the 3rd lockdown in Israel to re-develop its membership process and integrated volunteer management as a part of its processes.

What will be the next steps following the conclusion of the project?

We will have another session of meetings, when possible. Both with the clubs that we worked with, to feedback them and with one or two new clubs, they can benefit from the project.

As the projects continue to progress, we will provide future updates.

Thank you SD Scotland, Unsere Kurve and Israfans for taking part in this mini-series. You can read the previous updates from SD Scotland and Unsere Kurve,

You can find out more about the SD Europe Fund here.