Last month, hundreds of fans from across the continent descended on Frankfurt am Main, Germany, to attend the 11th European Football Fans Congress (EFFC). Many of them also participated in the first in-person meeting of the F+ Collective—a network of female, transgender, and non-binary fan activists from FSE’s membership.

As well as welcoming the Fan.Tastic Females exhibition to Eintracht Frankfurt’s Riederwald campus, the collective ran two open workshops and one closed workshop on the Friday. Subjects covered included sexualised violence in football and the role of gender in fan scenes, with more than 40 fans from 15 nations taking part.

Sadly, legendary Arsenal fan and original Fan.Tastic Female Maria Petri passed away on the same day at the age of 82. On Saturday, the entire Congress paid tribute to Maria, watching her interview and joining in a minute’s applause.

Later, a meeting was held for members of the collective to discuss its future priorities and activities, which attracted 20 fans from seven nations. This was followed by a social brunch on Sunday, where the conversations continued.

By the end of the weekend, the collective had agreed to hold meetings and run workshops at all EFFCs, while organising online working groups in-between. It was further agreed that topics for discussion would not be limited to gender, but would always be approached from a female+ perspective. Potential topics encompassed security (guidance on body searches, regulations and rules on safeguarding female+ fans, etc.), gender allyship, and a report on female+ fan representation in European football.

Reflecting on the event, FSE’s Diversity Officer Antje Grabenhorst commented: “If we had not met explicitly as the F+, I don’t think I would have encountered so many people and been exposed to their unique experiences and perspectives.”

F+ founder Greta Rinast added: “Even though we’re from different countries, it is very telling that we face similar problems as female+ fans—problems that all football fans need to address.”

Fellow founder Nicole Winkelhake said: “By meeting in person, we had an opportunity to discover and decide what topics we want to focus on in our future work. It’s really cool to have so many contacts from all over Europe.”

FSE’s COO & Head of Governance Niamh O’Mahony echoed these sentiments: “I really enjoyed the informal parts of the programme. We exchanged knowledge and words of support in a relaxed atmosphere. It’s a simple idea but of huge benefit.”

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