2022 saw significant strides forward across Football Supporters Europe’s areas of work and as an organisation.
Driven by FSE members, we further instilled our rightful position as a serious stakeholder and a force to be reckoned with.
Despite a year which saw both a men’s World Cup and women’s Euros tournaments alongside the usual growing domestic calendars, 2022 will forever be scarred because of the indefensible invasion of Ukraine. Back in February, FSE joined football stakeholders in condemning the actions of the Russian state. We continue to stand with the people of Ukraine in their struggle for survival, peace, and self-determination, and invite fans to support the work of Vostok SOS, an internationally recognised NGO based in Ukraine which is delivering humanitarian and medical aid throughout the country.
A New Era For Football Supporter Representation
A defining moment for the European supporters’ movement came in October as Football Supporters Europe and SD Europe merged into one organisation to become a unified, democratic voice for all fans encompassing a wide variety of priorities. The FSE office and the Boards of the two organisations recently gathered in Brussels following the merger for three days of planning, team building and to set course for 2023.
FSE’s defense of European football continued throughout 2022 working with members to ensure the position of supporters directly influenced the outcome of a major reform of UCC competitions. This was accompanied by our consistent and strong opposition to any European super league, including welcoming December’s announced Opinion on the scheme by the CJEU along with football’s other stakeholders.
A great deal more was also achieved, with EFFC 2022 and FSE BGM hosted in Frankfurt bringing together the members and network in person for the first time since before the pandemic. The event was supplemented by the Euro 2024 Fans Forum held in conjunction with the German FA (DFB) also in Frankfurt. 2022 also saw FSE’s inaugural ‘Her.Story’ event hosted at Fulham FC dedicated to celebrating women’s football and fan culture. The event served as a launch pad for developing FSE’s policy on women’s football.
Away from member events, FSE delivered a successful Fans’ Embassies programme during the Uefa Women’s Euro 2022 – a first for an international women’s football tournament. Throughout 2022, the SLO team continued to deliver its SLO education programme with Uefa Academy in addition to facilitating numerous exchange visits between SLOs across Europe as a part of the Erasmus+ funded TRANSFER (Transnational Football Exchange and Role-Sharing) project.
In February 2022, FSE and Uefa set up a joint working group on away fans in European Club Competitions, as well as national team games with the overall aim of improving the situation for away fans at Uefa competitions. Within the working group, FSE and Uefa regularly discuss upcoming fixtures, providing FSE with the possibility to flag potential security risks based on experiences from recent games at the respective stadiums.
Prior to the World Cup in Qatar, FSE worked with the Centre for Sport & Human rights to publish a Fans’ Human Rights Guide. We also stood alongside our Sport & Rights Alliance partners during the World Cup by calling on FIFA to take responsibility for its tournament.
Challenges for 2023
Next year, FSE will build on the heritage of SD Europe’s traditional field of work by continuing the process to develop its fan ownership and heritage protection policy. The next milestone will be the announcement of the on-topic division’s Board member and the establishment of a working group comprised of individuals from the membership and network to guide the process.
2023 will also see the beginning of the Future of Football (youth & democracy), TPDS (SLO Education & Occupational Standards) and SAFER (Support & Awareness for Female fans in European football through Research, prevention, and remedy) Erasmus+ funded projects, alongside the completion of Fans Matter!, Kick-Off! and TRANSFER projects.
Spring 2023 will reveal the final judgement by the EU Court of Justice on the case being chased by the European super league antagonists. We will continue our robust defense of the European model of sport alongside UEFA, EU institutions and other key football stakeholders.
Casting our minds back to 2021 and comparing to the above’s activities and accomplishments in 2022, we are delighted to see that FSE as an organisation is growing. Its membership, areas of work, and influence in the European game is expanding. 2023 will see the largest European Football Fans Congress to date as we come together as a unified European supporters organisation for the first time.
We achieved so much together in 2022. As supporters, we increasingly have the agency and influence to protect our game and ensure its long-term future from the grassroots to professional level and across the men’s and women’s games by continuing to campaign and work towards a more sustainable, fair, and inclusive European football.
Join us and be part of the crowd.