Late last month, Football Supporters Europe (FSE) and AGF Fanclub Aarhus co-hosted a virtual Summer Network Meeting (#SNM2020), with the aim of bringing together fans to talk about the most pressing issues in European football.
Despite the unusual circumstances, that aim was met. Over 50 fan representatives from more than 20 UEFA region nations, as well as some from farther afield, logged in to join the discussion.
As expected, much of the meeting was given over to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and its impact on the game, both on and off the pitch.
The first session was dedicated to Danish football and fandom. Sarah Agerklint from national supporters’ organisation Danske Fodboldfans (DFF) provided an overview of the situation for Danish clubs and fans, which in many ways is more advanced than the rest of the continent. Anja Lilli Beikes and David Knudsen, meanwhile, informed guests about the particular experience of AGF Aarhus fans. Soon after, the club’s director of communications, Søren Højlund Carlsen, spoke about the challenges of implementing social distancing rules in and around the stadium.
The potential return of spectators in other countries was covered in detail. German fan organisation Unsere Kurve updated participants on the Bundesliga, as well as the Unser Fußball campaign, while Association Nationale des Supporters (ANS) outlined recent events in France, where fans have been in dialogue with the Ministry of Sport. The Football Supporters’ Association (FSA) and Irish Supporters Network (ISN) summarised the position of fans in England and Ireland, respectively.
There was also time for FSE staff and Board members to discuss the organisation’s work, from the Away Fans Survey, Fan.tastic Females Exhibition, and OUT! to its response to the current crisis, which includes Fans vs Covid-19, a joint initiative with SD Europe. In addition, the Fans’ Embassy division presented their plan for UEFA EURO 2020, now scheduled to take place in 2021, with some help from the DFF, who prepared a case study on Copenhagen’s preparations as a host city.
FSE would like to thank everybody who attended. We look forward to a time when we can all meet in person.