Supporters Direct Europe
Improving Football Governance through Supporter Involvement and Community Ownership: Led in Ireland by Friends of the Rebel Army Society (FORAS) and Cork City Football Club.
FC United to host Cork City FC: Full article here
Heart of the Game conference:
A unique and innovative conference, which focused on governance, community and fan activism in football, was held in Cork on November 2012. A full summary of all workshops and discussions is available to download here: Heart of the Game conference summary.
Project News Archive:
January 25, 2017: FC United to host Cork City FC
March 29, 2013: Project Update: FORAS story heard in Antwerp
March 20, 2013: FORAS to attend final project workshop in Belgium
January 30, 2013: FORAS featured in Madrid event
January 15, 2013: FORAS invited to speak at Madrid conference
October 17: Fan power in soccer (Sport for Business)
October 14: Supporters make their views count (Sunday Independent)
October 5: Time to find a Voice (Extratime.ie)
September 25: Meeting with the FAI (Supporters Direct)
Project Background: It was during the relatively stable tenure of Brian Lennox that the seeds for the Friends of the Rebel Army Society (FORAS) were first sown. Members of the Cork City FC Supporters Club sought to create an entity that could proactively support the club in its daily operations. Never, at any stage early on, was it envisaged that FORAS would fully own and run CCFC a mere five years later.
On the eve of the Trust’s launch in 2008, Cork City FC went into examinership. As a voice for supporters, FORAS immediately moved into the spotlight and remained a constant throughout the difficulties that followed. Concerned about the future of League of Ireland football in Cork, the Trust applied – and was granted – a Licence to participcate in 2010 First Division.
When the holding company of CCFC was liquidated on the eve of the new season, Cork City FORAS Co-op came into existance. A manager was recruited, a home ground and training facilities secured and players were signed – all accomplished just days and hours before the first fixture kicked off at Derry City.
On the field, the club battled to an incredible 1-1 draw that night at the Brandywell and has since been promoted back to the Premier Division of the League of Ireland as First Division champions (2011). Off the field, the Trust is a vital supporting organ – and not just for Cork City FC, but other supporters organisations and clubs around Ireland.
What is this Project about?
This EC-funded Project seeks to strengthen the argument that having supporters involved with their football team – in a meaningful way – has a number of positive effects for clubs, including increased financial stability, closer community ties and an increase in active citizenship ie volunteers.
Over the duration of the Project, working groups in eight different European countries will help conduct a European-wide survey of supporters’ attitudes towards a range of governance and ownership issues. National workshops in six countries, including Ireland, will assess Best Practices and Shared Experiences locally before overall findings are presented in an Irish Toolkit, which will then be available to any supporters’ organisation or club looking to improve its own governance.
Why is this Project important?
Ireland’s National League has hit the headlines for all the wrong reasons in recent years. We are not alone, however – football across Europe is struggling to overcome unsustainable financial models, weak governance structures and a lack of democratic accountability.
FORAS has seen the demand for supporter involvement and community ownership grow here over the last five years and is now demonstrating that there is another way to combine on-field success with off-field sustainability.
Our accomplishments to date mean the Trust is one of the first ports of call for any supporters’ organisation or club seeking support or advice. The Trust, too, has been able to lean on others, including Shamrock Rovers during our own ongoing development and this Project will bring all those collective experiences and guides together in one place.
How is the European Commission involved?
The European Commission, under the Preparatory Action in the Field of Sport, selected the Project for receipt of a grant last October (2011), following a submission of documents by all partners involved last July.
The Project – with its focus on good governance, supporter involvement and community ownership – will lay the groundwork for future European Union action in this area, on the basis of priorities outlined in the 2007 White Paper for sport, the 2011 Communication on Sport and the most recent European Dimension on Sport (also known as the Fisas report).
What are the Project’s main objectives?
– to produce a body of research (ie a toolkit) in support of any future developments in the area of good governance, supporter involvement and community ownership in sport, both at national and European level.
– the provision of practical and actionable advice for supporters’ organisations and clubs in Ireland
– to help with the development of a national support network in Ireland
– to strengthen ties with supporters’ organisations and clubs across Europe
– Completion of a European-wide Needs Analysis survey, which all working groups will feed into
– Development of an agenda for the National Workshop
– Early design and content ideas for the Irish Toolkit
– Organisation and Hosting of National Workshop (late 2012/ early 2013)
– Production of Ireland’s Toolkit. This will be informed by the Needs Analysis survey and Workshop findings.
– Final report launch in the UK (June 2013)
– Lobbying local, national and European authorities for support of the Project’s ideals and findings.
For further information or to get involved, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
A la nantaise (FC Nantes: France)
Associação de Adeptos Sportinguistas (Sporting Portugal)
Federación de Accionistas y socios del Fútbol Español (National Federation for Supporters’ Trusts: Spain)
Svenska Footballssupporterunionen (Swedish Football Supporters’ Union: Sweden)
Unione Italiana Sport per tutti – Comitato Regionale Emilia Romagna (Sport for All: Italy)
Unsere Kurve (National organisation seeking to protect supporter-ownership: Germany)
Vzw Eskabee 1935 FC (A football club formed by the fans of the former KSK Beveren: Belgium)