Fandom as Universal Language Exhibition Krakow 2010

FSE Fans’ Action 2010 – colourful events in Poland and Ukraine

In the framework of the Fans’ Embassy Go East Project, FSE supported seven Fans’ Action events in Poland and Ukraine, the host countries of EURO 2012. The successful activities were organised by football fans from Gdansk to Donetsk, including International tournaments, social activities and panel discussions.

All fans’ initiatives were subject to consent and pro-active support of FSE’s core principles.

Fandom as universal language

The photo exhibition Fandom as a universal language put the passion expressed every week by millions of football supporters all over the world in the foreground. The aim of the exhibition shown in Krakow’s Galeria 2 Swiaty was simple: to show football supporters and supporters culture in a more positive and less one-sided way than they are presented in media coverage. 28 high-class snapshots from football stadia in 16 different countries not only built the framework of the photo exhibition, but were also the basis for a glossy 96-page album that was released at the grand opening.

On 9 September the Pauza club in Krakow was host to a lively debate divided into two parts: the first one was devoted to football fandom in Krakow, the second was devoted to a discussion between sociologists, the head of the fan project in Wroclaw and the vice president of Hutnik Krakow, a club that was re-established by its fans following bankruptcy (along similar lines as the model of AFC Wimbledon or Austria Salzburg).

Biggest actions in Krakow and Lviv

Hutnik Krakow was also the focus of the FSE Fans’ Action, when the association Nowa Hutnik 2010 organised “Welcome to Nowa Huta”, which was among the most important elements of the celebrations of the 60th anniversary of Sports Club Hutnik Krakow.

More than 2500 fans, including 300 visiting fans, attended the game between Hutnik Krakow and 1. FC Magdeburg. The fans of both teams created a marvelous atmosphere during the whole game – they celebrated and were constantly singing throughout, with the German fans singing Polish songs, and the Polish fans singing German ones. Both sides prepared special choreographies and huge pyrotechnics shows.

“Thanks to this event and the international support of FSE we succeeded to convince local politicians, sponsors and media that we are the right people to run the club”, said Adam Gliksman, Vice-President of Hutnik Krakow, shortly after the celebrations.

The fans’ organisation Go Karpaty organised their annual international fan tournament, Eurofan, in Lviv, one of the host cities of EURO 2012. This year, 12 international teams, including teams from Sweden, Wales, HSV, Zenit St. Petersburg, Liverpool and Bohemians Prague played in four groups on four different pitches all over the city. 400 spectators followed the semi-finals and the final in the old stadium in Lviv. Unlike last year’s event which was overshadowed by negative incidents caused by ultra-right supporters that forced an entry to the ground and interrupted the final match, this year’s tournament, also thanks to the advice and support provided by FSE, could be significantly improved and hence resulted in a diverse, peaceful and enjoyable experience for all.

Before the final game, almost all participating teams this year offered presents for an orphanage in Lviv. The tournament was rounded up with an award ceremony at the official fan fest for the World Cup 2010, and a good-bye party in the biggest disco in town.

Social activities for children in Gdansk and Katowice

FSE member organisation Lwy Polnocy, a supporters club at Lechia Gdansk, organised a football tournament with 16 youth teams from children homes and a young offenders’ institution. The children, all aged between 6 and 17 years old, played in two groups in the Lechia Gdansk stadium on an artificial pitch. All together 130 players, including two female teams and two mixed teams, competed for the trophy (or just enjoyed themselves at the bouncy castle). There were also teams from Trzepowo, some 120 km from Gdansk, and from Wroclaw, with whom Lechia Gdansk enjoy an official friendship between their supporters.

From April to June the third edition of the Youth League “Liga Pilkarska” for vulnerable children organised by the Silesian Way, a social grassroots supporters’ initiative from the Silesia region, took place in Katowice. The league was played by seven youth teams between the age of 10 and 16. The youth teams were formed by social centres, orphanages or the Catholic Children Foundation, and they were assisted by social workers. All together there were 6 match days. A big final with youth teams from other cities was played in the presence of club officials from GKS Katowice.

International tournaments in Donetsk and Stalowa Wola

Donetsk was the setting for the intercultural Friendship tournament. Foreign students and supporters from China, Syria, Palestine and Nigeria and others that attend the National University of Economics and Trade (named after Michael Tugan-Baranovskiy) showed that football unites and racism divides. It was up to the students to select the most important player from each team. In a huge press conference with the participation of the mayor of Donetsk, the organisers from the fan club DonNUET presented the international Donetsk team of the year 2010.

The fans’ organisation SK Stal Stalowa Wola organised the second running of its international fan tournament in their stadium, at the training pitch of Stal Stalowa Wola. Around 200 players in 16 teams tried to impress the 500 spectators with their technical skills. A vast framework programme with live concerts, dance shows, barbecue and a pull-up competition rounded up the event.


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