European Football Fans’ Congress launched at the Emirates Stadium

Untitled-1.jpg

Final preparations are being made by the Football Supporters International (FSI) network for the first ever European Football Fans’ Congress, with over 250 football supporters from 27 countries having registered to take part in the sold out event, which is also backed by UEFA.

Featuring sessions on fan culture, policing, anti-discrimination, ticketing and club ownership the event on Sunday will also host a joint international panel discussion. The event aims to provide a platform for discussions and a strong voice for football supporters across Europe and kick-off the formation of an independent, representative and democratically organised European network of football fans that should be established via this inaugural Fans’ Congress.

As Euro 2008 gets ready to kick off next week more than a million football fans from all over Europe are expected to flood into host countries Austria and Switzerland to be part of the four week football festival. These supporters at the tournament will be under great public and media scrutiny again. Amongst others, the European Football Fans’ Congress should also give fans an opportunity to reflect on their experiences from Euro 2008, be they positive or negative, and offer a fans’ vision for future tournament organisation.

Alongside this post-tournament work FSI will be working to ensure all fans experience a positive Euro 2008 in comfort and safety as they once more carry out Fans’ Embassy services, which provide invaluable help and information for fans travelling from all corners of the continent. This work will be complemented by a series of anti-racist activities scheduled to taking place inside and outside stadia in Switzerland and Austria, co-ordinated by Football Against Racism in Europe (FARE).

Daniela Wurbs, International Development Officer, FSF said:

“During the last two decades fans from all over Europe have realised being united can be a valuable strength and when we speak up loudly and clearly, we can engage football’s governing bodies. Football fans may live in different countries and support different teams but there are many problems we face as football fans that are shared.

“Our event will not only reflect upon Euro 2008, but also ask fans from around Europe to share their overall experiences, hopes, and fears. Are genuine supporters across Europe being priced out or is it only an English problem? When does policing at matches criminalise fans? How can more fans be encouraged to become self-policing and involved in anti-racist initiatives across Europe? We think these are some of the issues which should matter to all football fans.”

All delegate places are now taken but journalists are still welcome to attend, for further information or accreditation please see below contacts.

Administrative support for this event has been provided by the Football Supporters’ Federation (FSF), based in England, founding member of the FSI network and currently responsible for the overall coordination of FSI.

Football Supporters Federation (FSF) is the national supporters’ organisation for all football fans in England and Wales comprising over 142,000 individual fans and members of local supporters’ organisations from every club in the professional structure and many from the pyramid. For more info click here

Football Supporters International (FSI) is an independent body comprised of various fan-related organisations from across Europe, and has provided and developed support services for fans travelling abroad for more than 15 years.