Turkey: Fans from all over Europe to unite in Istanbul

source: FansEurope.org; author: michał

Turkey: Fans from all over Europe to unite in Istanbul Possibly some 500 supporter representatives from 32 are meeting in Istanbul for the 5th European Football Fans’ Congress 2012, from 13-15 July 2012. Special moment for Turkish supporters as well as fans groups from Fenerbahce, Galatasaray and Besiktas jointly initiated first national fans’ network meeting.


Football supporters organised in the independent and democratic continental fans’ network Football Supporters Europe (FSE), the main interlocutor of UEFA on fans issues, have joined forces with Turkish fans make their voice heard not inside but outside the stands: at the 5th European Football Fans’ Congress which will take place in Istanbul at Halic Conference Center from 13-15 July 2012. After London, Hamburg, Barcelona, Copenhagen & Brondby, FSE members from the fans’ group ÜNIFEB from Fenerbahce initiated that the biggest annual event of FSE is this year hosted in Istanbul. A local organising group involving fans’ groups from Fenerbahce, Besiktas and Galatasaray was subsequently established and has since jointly prepared an extensive three day programme together with the executive Committee of FSE.

The event will feature a programme with workshops on burning topics such as ticket pricing and allocations, penalty scales, offensive behaviour, the future of ultra culture and new developments on Safe Standing in Europe. On top of that, there will be high-profile panel discussions on the increasingly burning topics match-fixing and “Our Vision of Football” and the role of fans in the game.

More than 400 people from 32 countries are meanwhile registered for the sold-out event, including supporters representatives from fans’ groups from all over Turkey and elsewhere. They are joined by a wide range of institutional delegates from UEFA, the EU, national governments and football associations, including high-ranking representatives such as William Gaillard, Senior Advisor of UEFA President Michel Platini, Tony Higgins, board member at the international players union FIFPro, and Gianluca Monte from the European Commission. Furthermore, Declan Hill, investigative journalist and expert on match-fixing from Canada and Sylvia Schenk, sports expert from Transparency International and the CEO of FC United of Manchester, Andrew Walsh, will also contribute to the discussions.

On Sunday, whilst the FSE membership will hold its general meeting with elections of the new executive Committee for the coming season, Turkish fans will come together for a first ever national fans meeting to speak about shared interests and problems and how they could unite for the common cause. This will be followed by the first ever panel discussion between football supporters and football governing bodies in Turkey. TFF General Secretary Emre Alkin and representatives from the Istanbul police will join the discussion as well.

The 5th European Fans’ Congress of FSE is this year supported by UEFA and the TFF, as well as by SPOR A.S. and the Municipality of Istanbul as part of the European Capital of Sports 2012 Portfolio. They all recognized the positive commitment of the supporters involved as well as the independent nature of the event.

FSE Coordinator Daniela Wurbs: We are glad that we could take the event to Turkey and are very much looking forward to it. Likewise, we are more than happy that fans from the three biggest teams in Istanbul could be won over to start uniting fans all over Turkey beyond rivalries to make their voice heard on how the game is run and that their positive commitment has been met with support from the institutions in Turkey as well.

We hope that our European Football Fans’ Congress can serve as a kick-off event for a great national fans’ movement in Turkey and help to establish a fruitful dialogue between fans and the institutional level in Turkey to overcome existing problems, together with the supporters themselves, as they should be seen as the most powerful part of the solution, and not just as a problem.