On the 11 February, Supporters Direct Europe, Senator Ronan Dantec and the French association ‘Conseil National des Supporteurs de Football’, organised a second ‘Assises de Supportérisme’ at the Sénat du France in Paris to discuss the role of supporters and their representation in French football. 

Those present included the Secretary of State for Sport, Thierry Braillard, Head of SD Europe, Antonia Hagemann, representatives of CNSF, political stakeholders, 5 of France’s Disabled Supporters Associations (Bordeaux, Marseille, Saint Etienne, Lyon and Paris Saint Germain) and CAFE. 

The conference started with an introduction, during which the Secretary of State for Sport emphasised the need for dialogue between all of football’s stakeholders, officials and fans. He specifically called for a spokesperson from each football club to allow for such a dialogue. Antonia Hagemann then described how supporters groups differ from country to country regarding their creation and organisation, providing examples such as Spain, Italy, Germany and England, but highlighted that they can all be powerful in giving feedback and recommendations to football authorities.

Following this introduction, three round tables took place. Topics discussed included the implementation of Supporter Liaison Officers in France, as per UEFA regulations, and the need for a new law to ensure supporter representation and good governance. During the first round table, the President of Olympique Marseille’s DSA explained some of the common issues that disabled fans encounter at football matches, especially when going to away games, and how their recommendations and advice for stadia and clubs is often ignored. He placed emphasis on the fact that disabled fans are happy to pay for tickets, so long as they can enjoy a positive matchday experience.

CAFE was excited to witness that from this meeting, stemmed the beginnings of a National Disabled Supporters Association. There are now plans for the 5 DSAs present to meet again to discuss the organisation of the group and we look forward to hearing further developments.

Published 17/02/2015