Supporters' groups involved in running fan embassies at UEFA EURO 2012 this summer have begun a series of meetings with representatives from the eight host cities that will stage matches – Gdansk, Poznan, Warsaw and Wroclaw (Poland) and Donetsk, Kharkiv, Kyiv and Lviv (Ukraine).
The meetings are aimed at launching final preparations for the Fans' Embassy services at the tournament, coordinated by the Football Supporters Europe (FSE) network, and demonstrate that every precaution and planning measure is being taken by fan bodies and the host cities to ensure the tournament runs smoothly.
Fan embassies will be set up in all the host cities, in accordance with the slogan 'Respect Fan Culture – Fan Embassies' and with the purpose of promoting a positive and peaceful fan culture, contributing to a festive atmosphere at the event.
The host city meetings are being organised by the FSE in coordination with the Polish government agency PL.2012, the Ukraine State Service for Youth and Sports, the All-Ukrainian Supporters Association, the host city authorities and the staff of the stationary fans embassies from all eight cities.
Meetings are being held with the local organising committees (LOCs), host city representatives, safety and security officials, police, and mobile and stationary fan embassy staff. The supporters' groups present will run the mobile fan embassies at the EURO. The first meetings are currently under way in Kyiv and Donetsk, with the participation of FSF (England), Camp Sweden and Fans' Embassy France.
Further meetings are scheduled in the coming weeks:
30 January-3 February: Wroclaw and Warsaw, featuring Czech Fans' Embassy and Fans' Embassy Russia.
6-10 February: Poznan and Gdansk, involving Progetto Ultrà (Italy), CEPA (Spain), Show Racism the Red Card (Republic of Ireland) and FLO (UMKI) (Croatia).
13-18 February: Lviv and Kharkiv, with the participation of KOS-Fanprojekte (Germany), and Danske Fodbold Fanklubber (DFF) (Denmark). Supportersclub Oranje (Netherlands) will join subsequent talks.
The meetings will take place along with city tours, stadium tours, fan zone visits, and the checking of venues for stationary and mobile fan embassies – helping the Fans' Embassy teams to familiarise themselves with their 'homes' for the tournament. Various national supporter liaison coordinators from the participating associations are also involved, as well as embassy staff from the 16 associations competing in the EURO.
Thomas Gassler, coordinator of the Fans' Embassy project on behalf of the FSE, said: "Following the launch of our online guide to Poland and Ukraine in December, these visits mark the next major step in our preparations for organising the best possible fans' embassies at this summer's tournament. We are looking forward to a month of hard work, and hope that the travelling delegations of fans from across the continent gain the insight they need into their host cities to help them get ready for EURO 2012."
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