European Football Supporters Body Not Happy After Meeting With UEFA

As My Old Man Said (MOMS) considers the ambition of Aston Villa Football Club to be European football, we’ve been a card-carrying member of the Football Supporters Europe (FSE) organisation for a couple of years now (as well as being an active member of the Football Supporters Federation (FSF).

The FSE dropped its members including MOMS, a message about their recent meeting this week with UEFA, including Michael Platini. While noting positive results on various issues, they said a ‘huge argument’ broke out about the penalising of all a club’s fans due to the actions of individuals or a small group, like with issues of racism, pitch invasions or fighting, for example.

UEFA prefer ‘mass punishments’ i.e. the playing of games behind closed doors or banning of away fans, while the FSE argued for more selective punishments aimed at those who commit the actual crimes rather than making all fans of a certain team take the rap and suffer as a result.

Funnily enough, Villa fans saw this UEFA-like mentality with the BBC commentary of the Villa FA Cup quarter-final, where every man, woman and kid who came on the Villa Park pitch after the final whistle was inferred to be an idiot or a hooligan by the BBC commentators.

Anyway, below is the FSE’s statement in full, which we thought was worth publishing to show how the battle to get sense on supporter issues extends to the whole of Europe.


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UEFA ignores negative effects of collective punishments in annual meeting with fans

On 16 March, the annual meeting of the FSE Committee with UEFA took place, together with our partners Supporters Direct Europe and Centre for Access to Football in Europe (CAFE). Whilst progress was made and joint actions were discussed with regards to nominative ticket schemes and travel restrictions, we had to register that UEFA  was still unwilling to move even an inch in its position on collective punishments of fans.  

UEFA continues to show no understanding for the fact that punishing fans that haven’t done anything wrong whatsoever, is unjust, doesn’t meet judicial principles and is hence counter-productive to motivating fans in the important commitment against racism. The more than justified complaints of supporter groups from Bayern, Manchester City or Northern Ireland, amongst others, that were presented by FSE Committee members in the meeting, didn’t change this. These cases refer in particular to the situation of innocent away supporters who are punished for the behaviour of usually a minority of fans, and crucially of fans of the other club, and till today haven’t even been compensated for their expenses relating to tickets, travel and accommodation.

UEFA thereby imposes the biggest negative impact on fans who have had no involvement in the racist incidents and who in some cases have even engaged in activities against discrimination themselves as supporters.

The FSE Committee is therefore unable to understand the statement of UEFA that this system of mass punishments has been a success. That this isn’t the case is not only shown by the fact that some of the same clubs still repeatedly receive sanctions for racist conduct of fans, but also by the European protest campaign “#Respect Fans” against these measures which has been joined by major non-racist supporter groups from more than 15 clubs playing in European club competitions this season. This clearly illustrates that the sanction logic of UEFA is by no means effective but has to be seen as unsustainable, wrong and unfair. The FSE Committee explicitly supports these protests and calls for fans to condemn the imposition of collective punishments on fans innocent of any offences, and to intensify these protests where appropriate.

We urge UEFA to recognise and address fans’ concerns on this integral issue, as otherwise we fear a continued radicalisation of the wider fan movement as a reaction to this position. This cannot be in anybody’s interest. Despite our great disappointment about the outcome of this meeting, FSE therefore remains ready for dialogue with UEFA, but only if this dialogue is characterised by an honest intention and true will to eradicate the current injustices in this system.

 UEFA news story on meeting

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  1. MOMS is not a membership organization, unlike the Trust. Nor do you involve anyone else, as you have rightly said you make the decisions. Its your web site and that is not in dispute. However if there is to be any action on this issue, and we are still waiting for the FA to decide what to do about the pitch invasion, it would be sensible for the Trust to approach Supporters DIrect, which it is affiliated to. But it is up to the Trust committee to decide, and it is its prerogative to decide what action to take, in its judgement,.

    What groups is MOMs affiliated to? Please advise.

    Its true you have taken action in the past, so what action if any do you propose to take over the BBC and the pitch invasion? The banners in ground on Saturday were good and well publicized. But what happens next? The protests to the BBC have been made. Its the FA where the buck stops at the moment and we await what their decision may be,

    Trevor Fisher.

    • At the moment, the membership is free. See the foot of the website. It’s a modern & fluid approach utilising social media, that ensures quick action on a daily basis (proven time and time again). The supporters direct model is like a trade union format from the 1970’s. A rule book the size of a bible, slows it down and essentially only makes a Trust relevant if it is lower league or has actual ownership of the club. The Trusts to boast numbers across all platforms before it has any type of voice, and that is the aim.

  2. time for the Supporters DIRect and other fans organisations to take a stand. MOMS may be a member of the grouping, but isn’t really in a position to take action not being a membership organization. However AVST certainly is, so the campaign to stop us all being tarred with the same brush is something they should take up in my view

    trevor fisher

    • Excuse me? MOMS has taken more action than anybody in recent years in terms of Villa supporter issues and have plenty of members thanks.

  3. I guess all football supporters know, or have heard of fans of one club setting out to blacken the reputation of another. You could call them “false scarf operations”. This used to happen a lot back in the 1980s, who’s to say that it isn’t still happening somewhere in Europe? Appealing to a Frenchman about natural justice is futile, their Napoleonic system of “guilty until proved innocent” makes them deaf to dissent.

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