Belgian group Fan Coaching has won the 2011 European Football Supporters Award (EFSA). Fan Coaching is a non-profit organisation based in Liege which campaigns against violence in sport. The EFSA comes with a €6,000 prize and has UEFA’s backing.
The award was created in 2005 and places emphasis on good relations between fans, respect for opponents and referees, and opposition to all forms of racism, xenophobia and violence.
EFSA initiator and spokesman Philippe Housiaux said that Fan Coaching was the “exceptional choice” and reaffirmed his organisation’s commitment to fair play at football stadiums. The jury was made up of representatives from the European Commission, the Council of Europe, European sports magazines, the City of Brussels, and the Sport and Citizenship Association.
An announcement on the EFSA website said: “For 20 years, the Fan Coaching association has been carrying out initiatives against violence in sport. This Belgian non-profit organisation has now been added to the auspicious list of winners of the Supporters’ Prize, which each year recognises a supporters’ group that has made a special contribution to restoring a positive atmosphere around our football stadia!”
Fan Coaching was founded in 1990 by the university and city of Liege. Through “mediation work” it aims to reduce the risk of incidents and accompanies Standard Liege supporters to all matches in Belgium and abroad. The group organises “sporting and cultural” activities around games and also provides a permanent social club called the Fan-Home
Manuel Comeron, spokesman for Fan Coaching, said: “On behalf of Fan Coaching, I would like to thank the organisers of the EFSA for seeing fit to reward our association at this 2011 edition. This prestigious prize underlines the quality of the work put in by those on-the-ground and the role of the institutions who support our activities, along with the importance of social and educational prevention at local and international level.”
Previous winners of the EFSA:
- 2010 Never Again Association (Poland)
- 2009 Association Média-Pitchounes de Toulouse (France)
- 2008 National Association for Disabled Supporters (United Kingdom)
- 2007 Genoa Club for Children (Italy)
- 2006 Amalgamation of Ireland Supporters Clubs (Northern Ireland)
- 2006 Special award to German fans for their behaviour during the World Cup
- 2005 La Peña Multicolor (Spain)
If you think your fans’ group should be in the running for 2012’s prize keep an eye on the European Football Supporters Award website for details on next year’s award.
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