Ahead of Saturday’s UEFA EURO 2020 quarter-final tie between Czech Republic and Denmark, Football Supporters Europe (FSE) spoke to Svatopluk Smysl from the Czech Fans’ Embassy, Fanklub Fotbalové Reprezentace, about his experience of the tournament so far.
FSE: How would you describe your experience of running a Fans’ Embassy during a pandemic?
Sadly, we haven’t been able to organise the Fans’ Embassy in the way we had envisaged. For the group stage, our games were hosted in London and Glasgow, both of which prohibited travelling fans.
We had three representatives in Budapest for the Round of 16, including our SLO, Martin Kurka, who is a vital part of the team. The service we provided was mobile and flexible, with a focus on providing information via various communication channels. We also monitored the situation on the ground. Martin worked in and around the stadium and operated our hotline. We were in constant contact with the Czech FA, security, embassy, and press, as well as FSE. We really appreciate the help that FSE has provided—it’s saved us a lot of time and averted potential problems.
We didn’t organise any social events in Budapest because most of our fans arrived on the day of the match.
FSE: What have been the main challenges?
It has been challenging to collect and verify information from different sources. The whole process of access code distribution over a short period has proved difficult, too.
FSE: What have been the main positives?
There were no major incidents at the Round of 16 match in Budapest, which is testament to the active participation of the SLO.
We’ve managed to smoothly distribute access codes to Czech fans so we could travel to Hungary in large numbers. The atmosphere was electrifying, and we have no doubt that fans will remember the day for many years to come. We have also made many new friends from across Europe thanks to FSE.
FSE: How important are Fans’ Embassies?
It’s a service by fans, for fans. We try to resolve every issue in a humane way and from a fan’s point of view. Fans’ Embassies improve the matchday experience, create a festival atmosphere, and help to prevent misunderstandings. In the long run, this means more fans will travel to watch international football.
FSE: What are your predictions for the quarter-final game?
I think we’ll win. We always aim high.
Find out more about Fanklub Fotbalové Reprezentace: