The German and English Fans’ Embassy teams, both members of Football Supporters Europe (FSE), will provide comprehensive advice, information and support service to England and German fans at the upcoming World Cup in South Africa. Fans’ Embassies are important tools to reduce feelings of exclusion and insecurity among travelling football supporters. The English and German Fans’ Embassy teams can look back at 20-years of experience: The English Fans’ Embassy, run by the independent Football Supporters Federation (FSF), and the German Fans’ Embassy team, organised by the Coordinating office of German Fan Projects (KOS), offer their services for the ninth time at major tournaments.
The English Fans’ Embassy will be run by a team of ten volunteer FSF members travelling to South Africa and providing assistance to their fans. The English Fans’ Embassy will operate a 24-hour telephone helpline service and produce and distribute the free fanzine “Free Lions” for each game, containing guide material and up-to-date information on tournament arrangements, to complete the 150 page full colour fans’ guide book already available and distributed for free among all England supporters. Working in close collaboration with staff from the British High Commission, the Fans’ Embassy team will use the latest technology and social networking communications, including Twitter feeds, Facebook updates and a free SMS text message service to provide the most up-to-date info on the tournament for the English fans.
The seven professional fan project workers of the German Fans’ Embassy team have their base camp in Pretoria at the official fan village of the German national team fan club. They ! will run mobile Fans Embassies at each game of the national te! am in close collaboration with the “real” German Embassy and the German FA. Just as the English Fans’ Embassy, the German team will produce a specific and up-to-date fanzine for each game of their national team. In cases of emergency the German Fans’ Embassy can be reached via a 24-hour hotline.
The concept of Fans’ Embassies has been established and continuously further developed by several Fans’ Embassy initiatives and FSE members in the past 20 years. The main idea is to openly and warmly welcome football supporters at major tournaments and to treat them respectfully as guests rather than a problem, and offer a wide range of interesting activities. The Fans’ Embassy service includes a quick and unbureaucratic help in the case of emergency ranging from support in case of the loss of passports to legal advice with the side effect to prevent further problems and tensions. Fans’ Embassies have been backed by UEFA, FIFA and the EU. In South Africa both, the English and the German Fans’ Embassies will play their crucial role to date, helping supporters overcome cultural differences and providing safety advice, all in cooperation with local and national, and international football bodies and authorities.
The FSF’s Director of International Affairs Kevin Miles, who will lead the English Fans’ Embassy service, said:
This World Cup will be quite a challenge for visiting fans, because of the distances involved, the difficulties in travelling and issues around safety and security. Thanks to the support of Nationwide, we’ll be present in every England venue on match days and a day either side, to offer assistance of any kind. We've undertaken five separate visits to South Africa, working in close collaboration with the British High Commission staff to determine exactly what's planned in terms of facilities for fans and to establish good contacts and channels of communication to make sure that our informati! on remains accurate and up-to-date.
The KOS Director Michael Gabriel, team leader of the German Fans’ Embassy, said:
Due to our great Fans’ Embassy experience of the past tournaments and knowing that we travel to South Africa with a professional team of fan workers, we are sure that we can offer the best information, advice and help for our fans. We are sure that we can make our contribution to a positive and festive atmosphere during the tournament in South Africa. We are well prepared to stay until the final and we’d like to take the occasion to thank the German Embassy and the DFB, the German Football Association, that both support our Fans’ Embassy activities.
The English Fan Guide for WC 2010 online: worldcup.fsf.org.uk
The German Fan Guide for WC 2010 online: www.fanguide-wm2010.de