Euro 2012

Embassies without ambassadors

09.04.2012 | By Ihor Levenstein

There will be stationary and mobile embassies for foreign fans attending the EURO 2012 in Ukraine. The international organization Football Supporters Europe will open such facilities in the Ukrainian host cities

Flamboyant and rowdy football fans love traveling and have fun. Unlike other guests and tourists they consider themselves to be a part of the game and want to actively participate in the football feast. They have a creative in expressing their emotions, so they require a certain degree of freedom in fulfilling their dreams in the host city and stadium.

It is important that the cheerful atmosphere is accompanied by maximum security for the fans, players and all other guests. The balance between safety and benevolence is the fundamental concept of football hospitality.

PH: unian

If the fans are bored, feel a negative attitude towards themselves or cannot get the required information about tickets, accommodation, transport, they could become irritated and even aggressive. That is why for more than 20 years Football Supporters Europe (FSE) has been implementing a project of fans embassies at major international championships. The main task of such embassies is to provide precise, reliable, relevant and unbiased information on any matter in the interests of tourists and football fans. Such embassies also guarantee assistance and support in cases of emergency (physical violence, theft) and are on ground to serve as an intermediary in conflicting situations.

In addition, these embassies provide information on international fan culture and accompanying events in host cities. For example, during EURO 2008 English fans requested the Spanish fans embassy to organize a football match against Spanish fans in Innsbruck. The workers of the fans embassy helped form a team of Spanish fans and rent a field on which an interesting friendly match was held.

Chief Coordinator of Fans Embassies in Ukraine Olha Mykhailychenko told KW there are two kinds of embassies stationary and mobile. Stationary fan embassies are a special service located in a premises or building that provides information or assistance to football fans and visitors of the championship. Mobile embassies operate as an information desk and will be located on the street and will help fans get around the city.

FSE Go East Project Coordinator Thomas Gassler emphasized that a fans embassy is not a cash register, not a commercial organization, a bookmaker office, or a fast food joint or an instrument of law enforcers.

On March 19-21 a meeting of fans representatives of Austria, Germany, Sweden, Italy, Spain, the Czech Republic, Poland, England, Denmark, Russia and Ukraine and a training seminar with representatives of Football Federation of Ukraine, UkrInfraProject, EURO 2012 Ukraine Organizing Committee and Interior Ministry was held in Kyiv. The participants visited the Olimpiysky Stadium and the coordination office of Fans Embassies in Ukraine. In Donetsk, the participants of the meeting met with representatives of the host city and visited the Donbas Arena stadium.

National coordinators for Ukraine and Poland have been appointed and coordinators in the 8 host cities of the championships and 5 fan experts were hired in each city. The selection of volunteers to work in stationary Fans Embassies and consulates is under way. On match days, the services of Fans Embassies will be reinforced by mobile fans consulates oriented at smaller groups of fans.

Fans consulates are located in key points throughout a host city and usually are equipped with a mobile information desk and have two-three employees. If required, fan consulates can turn for help to Fans Embassies. These embassies also offer printed and online guides to provide necessary information to fans.

Employees and volunteers of Fans Embassies must be trained, speak foreign languages, have a good grasp of football fan culture, possess full information about the fan zone in each host city and know the distinctive features of the fans of a specific team playing in that city. Im finishing my junior year at Kyiv Polytechnic Institute, says a volunteer of the Kyiv fans embassy Serhiy Mylynevskiy. I speak English fluently, I am a member of the Dynamo fan club and I am well-versed in the specific character of European and British football fans. I hope my knowledge will be useful for guests of EURO 2012 and work during the championship this summer.

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