Friends of the Rebel Army Society (FORAS) and Cork City FC were represented in Brussels on Wednesday, November 7th as Supporters Direct Europe launched its first position paper at the European Parliament.
Entitled ‘The Heart of the Game: Why Supporters are Vital to Improving Governance in Football’, the document details how supporter involvement and ownership can help improve European football and also provides a series of recommendations for the game’s key stakeholders to consider on issues including good governance and financial sustainability. The full paper is available here.
Representatives from UEFA, several national associations and leagues as well as Members of the European Parliament, Council and Commission were present at the event.
“SD Europe are committed to ensuring that supporters across the continent are able to secure a greater role in the decision-making process and ownership structure at their clubs and as a movement we see supporters as having a key role to play in the development of a better game for all,” Antonia Hagemann, Head of European Development at Supporters Direct Europe, said.
FORAS is currently working in partnership with Supporters Direct on an European Commission-funded research project that will see several of the attendees from the Brussels event travel to Cork this weekend to lead a football governance conference entirely dedicated to the League of Ireland.
Project Manager and Cork City FC board member Niamh O’Mahony also took the opportunity to raise awareness of the project amongst Irish MEPs in Brussels including Mr Sean Kelly, former Minister of State Mr Liam Aylward and Ms Marian Harkin. Project representatives have also had a productive meeting with Mr Brian Crowley MEP.
“The project’s working group continues to be encouraged by the feedback and support we are receiving from our elected representatives at local, national and, particularly, European levels,” Ms. O’Mahony said. “Their advice and assistance has helped to build momentum around the project as it tries to establish exactly what supporters in Ireland need to make a meaningful contribution to their respective clubs.”