supporters,

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    Ahead of the FIFA Women’s World Cup, FSE spoke to Deborah Dilworth, who is running the Free Lionesses fans’ embassy in France on behalf of the English Football Supporters’ Association (FSA).

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    En FSE estamos aún consternados y horrorizados ante los horribles ataques en Paris. Nuestros pensamientos están con los amigos y familiares de las víctimas.

    Asimismo enviamos nuestros mejores deseos a los habitantes de Paris, y particularmente a nuestros amigos y miembros de FSE en Francia que sobrevivieron a los ataques en el estadio y en los demás lugares. Algunos de ellos sobrevivieron por suerte, pero lo cierto es que sus vidas y la de muchos otros han cambiado para siempre.

    Pero otros, probablemente miles en el Estadio de Francia en la noche del 13 de noviembre de 2015, solo sobrevivieron gracias al trabajo del personal de control de acceso al estadio. Este personal detectó uno de los atacantes que portaba un chaleco explosivo en un control rutinario en la entrada del estadio. El terrorista retrocedió y explosiono su chaleco.

  • COM_CONTENT_REGISTER_TO_READ_MOREAt FSE we are still shocked and appalled in the light of the horrible attacks in Paris.

    Our thoughts are with the friends and families of the victims. Likewise, our very best wishes go to all people in Paris and particularly those friends and members of FSE in France who survived the attacks at the stadium and at the other sites. Some of them survived almost by coincidence but certainly all of their lives and those of many others have changed forever.

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    Ahead of the FIFA Women’s World Cup, FSE spoke to Deborah Dilworth, who is running the Free Lionesses fans’ embassy in France on behalf of the Football Supporters’ Association, the new English fan organisation created after the Football Supporters' Federation and Supporters Direct voted to merge with one another. 

    FSE: Let’s start with a simple question: what is a fan’s embassy?

    DD: A fans’ embassy provides supporters of national teams with a central check-in point for each game in a major tournament or qualification campaign. We offer a wide range of services, including a free guide which covers travel, host cities, and other useful information, such as the location of the British embassy and consulate. Fans’ embassies also act as a meeting point for people to socialise.

    FSE: Is this the first time that a fans’ embassy has been run for a women’s competition?

    DD: Yes. For the past twenty years, the Football Supporters Federation (the forerunner to the FSA) has been running a fans’ embassy called Free Lions for those who follow the England men’s team, but this is the first outing for Free Lionesses. It definitely won’t be the last!

    FSE: How does it work on the ground? Who do you work with, who provides support, and so on?

    DD: There’s two aspects to the embassy. First, there’s the fan guide, which we produced with the help of the Football Association (F.A.) and She Kicks. Second, there’s the physical embassy itself, which is open the day before the match and on matchdays. There’s someone coming in from the University Campus of Football Business (UCFB) to help me on the desk, and someone from Derby University will be helping with some of the content we’ll be producing.

    The F.A. also run a fan hub. We try to work together and help each other out, but we’re providing two different services. The fans’ hub deal with ticketing, official merchandise, and things of that nature.

    FSE: How many fans are you expecting to follow England in France?

    DD: The tickets are sold partly through the F.A. and partly through FIFA. I think around 1,300 tickets have been sold by the F.A. and FIFA have sent another 11,000 or so to UK postcodes. I’d say roughly 13,000 all in all.

    FSE: And there have been issues with the ticketing?

    DD: Yes. The F.A. scheme has been fine, but a lot of people who bought their tickets from FIFA have encountered problems. Fans who bought several tickets for themselves and their family or friends soon realised when they downloaded them that they were allocated in different areas of the stadium, sometimes even in different stands. Unfortunately, many people are still waiting for their tickets to be reallocated together, so we’re helping them with that.

    You have to wonder how this has happened. I mean, how many tournaments have they run? And why have things been so difficult during this one? It’s a real shame because there’s a lot of good work going on within FIFA and other organisations around the women’s game, and this has, to an extent, undermined it.

    FSE: Are there any challenges that are specific to running a fans’ embassy for fans of women’s national teams?

    DD: There is a difference. As we’ve witnessed over the past few days in Portugal, a minority of England fans caused a lot of trouble, and the Free Lions have condemned it. We probably won’t have to deal with that kind of behaviour.

    We’ll likely be focusing on the more logistical aspects of away fandom—ticketing, travel between host cities, that sort of thing.

    But that doesn’t mean that one embassy is more important than the other. They’re both there to help fans.

    FSE: You haven’t been there long, but what are your initial thoughts on France as a host nation?

    There have been questions about whether there’s been enough publicity around the host cities, but I drove from Nice down the coast and there was a lot of PR. There were also signs and posters about the World Cup in the airport. There could always be more, I suppose, and that’s certainly been a criticism going back to the previous European Championship.

    FSE: Do you think this is a big opportunity to showcase the women’s game to the world?

    DD: There’s been a marked increase in the amount of interest in the women’s game over the past few years, but it still has a long way to go. A lot of people are holding onto archaic views, especially back home, which can be trying. But the more and more attention the women’s game receives in the media, the easier it will be to change those attitudes.

    The way that the England squad was announced, with one player revealed every hour, is a good example of that. It created a lot of buzz and engaged a wider audience.

    But there’s still a barrier there. You know, I wanted to see England flags go up in house windows and on high streets, but I haven’t seen that where I live, and a lot of people still don’t know the World Cup is happening.

    FSE: What is the state of fan culture in the English women’s game?

    DD: There’s definitely a distinct fan culture around the women’s game in England, and it’s completely different to the one that exists in the men’s game. I think it’s fair to say that it has a more collaborative vibe. I don’t want to generalise, but a lot of people feel a sense of goodwill towards the women’s game. Even if you support Arsenal, you’re still happy that Tottenham are doing well. You don’t really get that in the men’s game.

    Fandom is growing, too, and that’s where the FSA come in. At the moment, it’s in a precarious position because there aren’t any regulations governing supporter engagement, which means fans are not necessarily consulted on important issues.

    FSE: When it comes to developing fandom in the women’s game, do you think England can learn anything from other countries?

    DD: The U.S. are bringing the most fans to France and they’ve got a good track record when it comes to investing in the women’s game. I don’t want to get into a debate about American fan culture, but, at the very least, the whole country seems to get behind the national team during big tournaments. That doesn’t happen to the same extent in Europe.

    FSE: And finally, who do you think will win the World Cup?

    DD: I’m going to stick with England. I think we’ve got a good chance, or at least I hope we do!

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    Ahead of the FIFA Women’s World Cup, FSE spoke to Deborah Dilworth, who is running the Free Lionesses fans’ embassy in France on behalf of the English Football Supporters’ Association (FSA).

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    Ahead of the FIFA Women’s World Cup, FSE spoke to Deborah Dilworth, who is running the Free Lionesses fans’ embassy in France on behalf of the English Football Supporters’ Association (FSA).

  • COM_CONTENT_REGISTER_TO_READ_MORE

    Ahead of the FIFA Women’s World Cup, FSE spoke to Deborah Dilworth, who is running the Free Lionesses fans’ embassy in France on behalf of the English Football Supporters’ Association (FSA).

  • COM_CONTENT_REGISTER_TO_READ_MORE

    Ahead of the FIFA Women’s World Cup, FSE spoke to Deborah Dilworth, who is running the Free Lionesses fans’ embassy in France on behalf of the English Football Supporters’ Association (FSA).

  • COM_CONTENT_REGISTER_TO_READ_MORE

    Ahead of the FIFA Women’s World Cup, FSE spoke to Deborah Dilworth, who is running the Free Lionesses fans’ embassy in France on behalf of the English Football Supporters’ Association (FSA).

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    Avrupa Futbol Taraftarları Birliği (FSE) olarak korkunç Paris saldırılarından sonra hala şok ve dehşet içindeyiz.

    Düşüncelerimiz kurbanların aileleri ve arkadaşlarıyla birlikte. Aynı şekilde en iyi dileklerimiz Paris'teki ınsanlara ve özellikle statta ve diğer yerlerde saldırılara maruz kalan ve kurtulan Fransa'daki FSE üyelerimize ve arkadaşlarımıza gidiyor. Bazıları neredeyse şans eseri hayatta kaldılar ama elbette onların ve birçok diğer insanın hayatı bu olaydan sonra tamamen değişmiştir.

    Diğerleri ise, 13 Kasım 2015 tarihinde Stade de France'ta bulunan binlerce kişi, ancak görevlilerin stad girişlerinde aldıkları önlemleri sayesinde kurtuldu. Stad görevlileri canlı bomba yeleğini giyen saldırganlarından birini stad girişinde rutin arama sırasında maçın 15. dakikasında tespit ettiler.

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    FSE est aujourd'hui encore choqué et consterné par les horribles attaques qui ont frappé Paris.

    Nos pensées vont vers les amis et les familles des victimes, mais également vers tous les parisiens et plus particulièrement les amis et membres de FSE qui ont survécu aux attaques du Stade de France et sur les autres sites. Ils ont survécu au pire mais leurs vies, ainsi que celles de nombreuses autres victimes, ont été profondément bouleversées.

    Des milliers de parisiens doivent quant à eux leur survie au travail des stewards postés aux entrées du Stade de France, qui sont parvenus à identifier la ceinture explosive portée par l'un des assaillant au cours d'une palpation de routine après 15min de jeu.

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    Alla FSE siamo ancora scioccati e sconvolti dagli orribili attentati di Parigi.

    Il nostro pensiero va agli amici e alle famiglie delle vittime. Allo stesso modo, i nostri migliori auguri vanno a tutte le persone a Parigi e in particolare a quegli amici e membri di FSE in Francia che sono sopravvissuti agli attacchi allo stadio e in altri siti. Alcuni di loro sono sopravvissuti quasi per caso, ma di certo tutte le loro vite e quelle di molti altri sono cambiate per sempre.

    Comunque, in quella notte del 13 novembre 2015 migliaia di persone allo Stade de France sopravvissero solo grazie al lavoro degli assistenti ai cancelli dello stadio. Questi assistenti hanno individuato uno degli attentatori, munito di giubbotto esplosivo, quando lo hanno perquisito durante un controllo di routine all'ingresso dello stadio, circa 15 minuti prima dell’inizio della partita.

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Email: info@fanseurope.org

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