SD Europe Fund: PAC Omonia 1948
‘PAC Omonia 1948 & Hapoel Katamon Jerusalem FC Exchange Visit’
Who is involved?
PAC Omonia 1948 was founded by fans of Cypriot club AC Omonia, following the decision made in a closed AGM to spin-off the football department into a company, essentially removing the democractic nature from the club and privatising it. PAC Omonia 1948 continues the tradition and essence of Omonia as a democratic one-member, one-vote organisation and as a social organisation that cares about its community.
Hapoel Katamon Jerusalem FC shares similar beginnings with PAC Omonia 1948. Following a series of poor management decisions during the mid 2000s, the supporters felt like they could no longer identify with Hapoel Jerusalem FC which led them to start their own member-run club carrying on the true spirit of what the original club had represented. The new club has grown to supersede the original club which ceased to compete in 2019. Like Omonia 1948, ‘Katamon’ takes pride in contributing to its community and runs various social programmes.
What are the project’s activities?
The project will see board members and volunteers from PAC Omonoia 1948 take part in exchange visits with Hapoel Katamon Jerusalem FC with the aim of exchanging best practice and knowledge in the areas of board level decision-making, membership management, social programmes, partnerships, on-pitch performance and youth academy management. These areas were decided upon following consultation between the club’s Committee, volunteers and members.
In discussion with SD Europe, it was identified that given Omonia 1948 and Katamon both exist in politically complex environments in addition to sharing similar priorities, values and face similar challenges, there was a natural fit for not only Omonia 1948 to develop through the project, but create an opportunity for Katamon too.
What are the anticipated outcomes and impact at national and local/club level?
Through the project, PAC Omonia 1948 aims to take on board the necessary know-how to adapt to the demands of promotion to higher divisions. The club recognises that it will need to continue to operate as a financially sustainable organisation which in part will require a drive for new members to contribute financial, and of course, moral support.
The club also recognises the significance of not losing sight of its commitment to the community when on field success comes, and hopes to learn from Katamon’s experience in this area. In its community, the club wants to further reach out to the Turkish-Cypriot minorities in the country and address its diversity by engaging more women with the club at member, volunteer and committee level.
Lastly, Katamon operates community programmes including its ‘Neighbourhood Leagues’ initiative which focuses on settling and easing the complex political environment and conflict between different groups in Jerusalem whilst ultimately developing local players for the club, which Omonia 1948 is focused on emulating in Cyprus.