Prevention of violence in football: the Fan Coaching association from Liege featured in new French book about supporterism

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Paris, December 2013 – The Fan Coaching association of Liege (Belgium), which has long been a partner of Efus, is featured in a book published in France in November, Le dictionnaire des supporters (the dictionary of supporters), which has won critical acclaim for presenting an original, insider’s view into the world of supporterism in Europe and beyond.

The concept of fan coaching was created by Liege-based Professor of Criminology Georges Kellens and Gendarmerie Commander Guy Wietkin, and developed with Liege local authorities. The idea is to accompany football supporters by offering them side-activities, and by helping them when they are looking for a job or need to do administrative paper work. The concept has since been adapted by other cities that host a major football club in the Netherlands, Germany and Sweden.

Efus has often worked with Fan Coaching as part of its activities on the topics of the prevention of violence in sport and the management of large events. Created in Liege in the early 1990s in the wake of the Heysel Stadium disaster (1985),  the association strives to prevent violence by accompanying supporters before, during and after matches.

Manuel Comeron, coordinator of the association Fan coaching-Eurofan, is mentioned in the bibliography of the Dictionnaire des supporters. An expert in the prevention of violence in football, Mr Comeron has collaborated with Efus in the European project GOAL (Gathering of all local forces to prevent violence in sporting events), and is one of the authors of the publication that resulted from this project, GOAL: Preventing Violence in Sport – A Guidebook for Cities.

The city of Liege, which hosts one of Europe’s oldest and most renowned clubs, the Standard, has developed over the past 25 years an ambitious, hands-on policy to prevent violence in sport, which has resulted in a significant drop in the number of violent incidents related to football.

In June, the Fan Coaching association held a Manifesto Day in Liege on “Football, culture and prevention”, together with the city of Liege and Efus and in collaboration with the University of Liege and the R. Standard CL (see article here). This day of debate gathered prevention practitioners, academics, sports professionals and representatives of civil society.

Le dictionnaire des supporters – Côté tribunes. Franck Berteau. Ed Stock. Paris.
Section “fan coaching” of the website of the city of Liege: click here
More information on the GOAL project (2009-2012)