Football followers came together to discuss the situation in Europe at the seventh European Football Fans Congress in Italy – organised by Football Supporters Europe.
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Football followers from 35 countries came together to discuss the current situation for supporters in Europe at the seventh European Football Fans Congress in Bosco Albergati, near Bologna, Italy.
The event was organised by Football Supporters Europe (FSE), the independent democratic network of football supporters across the continent currently representing more than 3 million football supporters in 45 countries. FSE e was launched with UEFA's backing in 2009. UEFA recognises FSE as the official interlocutor on fans' issues, and as one of its key stakeholders.
The European Football Fans Congress is seen as a key platform for improvement and progress in the exchange between active fans all over Europe. For the first time, the event took place in Italy, and was hosted in cooperation with the Mondiali Antirazzisti, the biggest anti-racist football festival in the world. Two UEFA social responsibility partners, FSE and the FARE network working to eliminate racism and discrimination from football, teamed up by taking the Congress to Italy, ahead of an upcoming respect diversity conference.
Discussions, panels and workshops took place on, among others, joint strategies against discrimination and initiatives for international cooperation. "It is crucial that the European football family listens to the demands and problems of their fans, and further enhances and promotes a dialogue with fans," said FSE coordinator Daniela Wurbs.
"It was a big pleasure for us to have this year's European Fans Congress at the Mondiali Antirazzisti," added Daniela Conti from Unione Italiana Sport Per tutti (UISP), one of the core organisers of the Mondiali Antirazzisti. "We think visitors of both events were able to learn a lot from each other, by sharing their experiences and examples of good work."
The place and date for next year's congress were announced in Bosco Albergati. It will be held during the first weekend of July 2015 in Belfast, Northern Ireland. Previous FSE European Football Fans' Congresses have taken place in 2008 (London), 2009 (Hamburg) 2010 (Barcelona), 2011 (Brondby and Copenhagen), 2012 (Istanbul) and 2013 (Amsterdam).
UEFA has engaged in a continuous dialogue with FSE on various matters as well as in support of particular initiatives and projects relating to fans' involvement. These include annual meetings between FSE and senior representatives from UEFA.