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Oct 21, 2020

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Kick-off!: The New SD Europe Project

Kick-off!, SD Europe’s new E+ funded project to start in January 2021, uses an innovative approach to understand, explain and improve the relationships between national fans organisations and national football associations: “couple therapy”.


The aim of Kick-off! is to help national supporters organisations and football associations Kick-off! and maintain a long-term, positive and structural relationship with each other and develop shared visions for a better football.

For the next two years, Kick-off! will address the factors that affect the relationship between the supporters organisations in each country, but also their relationship with their FAs. Kick-off! will ultimately allow project partners to overcome the mistrust towards each other, and create a reference database that will help them as well as more fan groups, clubs and FAs in Europe, deal with and avoid conflict situations in the future.

In times of crisis, with countless football clubs at the brink of bankruptcy, competitions at stake and a general belief that there is or was a football before and after the virus, cooperation between the stakeholders has never been more important.

Through inter-organisational relations counselling, Kick-off! will break the deadlock between four national fan organisations and four football associations in Germany, Spain, the Netherlands, Norway and will develop the relationship of the supporters with the football authorities in Africa.

Partners will work gradually towards the project’s objectives, in three phases: (1) review their current relationships and the factors that have traditionally affected them, (2) draft action plans for structural change, (3) test these draft actions, amend them if necessary, and agree to formalise them.

In its international dimension, Kick-off! will develop transferrable guidelines, which all fan organisations, clubs and football associations across the European Union and beyond can use to build trusted relationships and achieve shared visions.

During the 30-months of the project, which is coordinated by SD Europe, partners will receive preparatory training in inter-organisational change, team building and conflict management to equip them with the tools and knowledge to establish trust and impactful outputs along the way during and beyond the lifetime of the project.

Kick-off! will also explore a different context by providing insight into the experiences of fans and governing bodies in the USA with the aim is to see how applicable the outcomes are.


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