Football Supporters Europe is deeply saddened by the death of James Rophe, former spokesperson of the Association Nationale des Supporters (ANS) and long-standing friend of our organisation.
For the past 10 years, James fought every fight, from the Virage Auteuil in Paris to the halls of the French Senate, all the while battling a disease which he sadly succumbed to yesterday.
James was one of the founders in 2010 of Liberté pour les abonnés (LPA), a group at the forefront of the fight for the return of the PSG ultras to the Parc-des-Princes. He later became one of the main figures of Association de Défense et d’Assistance Juridique des Intérêts des Supporters (ADAJIS), an organisation providing legal support to PSG fans in their struggle against their club’s management.
He then took an active part in the foundation in 2014 of the Association Nationale des Supporters (ANS), the French national supporters’ organisation. Ever since, he has been considered to be “the voice and the face of the French tribunes”, tirelessly representing those who too often had their voices ignored. In TV studios, football headquarters, ministries and political offices, he fought tirelessly to represent the fans’ interests and raise awareness about the importance of dialogue and cooperation.
James was also a precious ally for FSE in the run-up of the EURO 2016. He opened many doors to our organisation in France and supported the work of our Fans’ Embassies, convinced that club and national team fans had to show a united front to preserve fans’ rights at a time when they were targeted by public authorities ahead of the tournament.
James was a union man, in every sense of the term. His experience as a trade unionist was precious in the creation of what is now structured fan dialogue in France. He knew how to build alliances, consensus and maintain a balance of power in a world where fans were rarely seen as a legitimate interlocutor.
His passion, his dedication and his undisputable ethos were appreciated by all. The wide range of vibrant tributes published since yesterday testify to the legacy he leaves behind.
James was a friend to many of us at FSE. He will be deeply missed. Our condolences are with his three daughters, his loved ones, his fellow PSG fans, and our friends at the ANS.