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b_300_200_16777215_00_images_stories_stationary1-klein.jpgA stationary Fans' Embassy is a meeting, exchange and service point in a building or structure in which information and/or help is given to football fans or visitors of a football tournament. The stationary Fans' Embassy should be run by local staff that have access to all necessary information and are familiar with fan culture and the specific needs of supporters.

A Fans' Embassy should be an independent centre for fans, which means that the work of the Fans' Embassy should NOT be connected to commercial goals, companies or (football) organisations, nor should the Fans' Embassy be linked to any type of political ideology or organisations.

Even though the focus should be set on a welcoming approach, for visiting supporters it is essential to know what they can expect and what they could do or should not do. Due to a wide range of possible enquiries and because of the changing situations that can arise particularly during tournaments, Fans' Embassies should have the benefit of direct and open channels of communication to allow a rapid updating, amendment or clarification of information. A useful motto for a Fans' Embassy is that "we may not know everything, but we will certainly know how to find out quickly!" The stationary Fans' Embassies should act as main contact point for mobile Fans' Embassies.

Moreover, it is highly advisable to keep tight relations with public authorities, police and the media throughout the whole tournament. It has proven helpful that the stationary Fans' Embassies take part of the responsibility of the strategic and logistic planning of mobile Fans' Embassies. Stationary Fans' Embassies should gather and exchange useful information with the parties/agencies involved, exempt from personal data and data relevant for investigation.

Fans' Embassies should be able to provide specialized information about particular interests and needs of football supporters. A Fans' Embassy will therefore need to be able to supply accurate and up-to date information about:

The geography of a host city and its environs

A plentiful supply of street maps which, for ecological reasons, should be included in the FanGuides or fanzines are invaluable.

Available accommodation

Many cities will have a central accommodation reservation system – this should be in close liaison with the Fans' Embassy. Alternatively, lists of hotels should be available, ideally frequently updated as hotels become fully booked. Details of budget accommodation, such as fan camps, camp sites, hostels or emergency accommodation should also be available.

Local and national transport

Many fans will not only require directions to their accommodation and in the host city, but also schedules and routes of trains or buses to their next venue. In particular details of transport to and from stadia on match days will be crucial. Regular contact with transport agencies should be maintained to inform about additional services arranged or required.

Eating, drinking and entertainment venues

As well as a general list of local bars, restaurants, clubs etc., it will be useful for the Fans' Embassy to be aware of particular requirements of different fan groups – for example the preference of many England fans for an English pub! Advice about "problematic" areas of towns that are best avoided, and where the crime hotspots are can be useful, too.

Emergency services

The Fans' Embassy should be able to refer supporters to the nearest medical assistance, fire service or police station. Lists of pharmacists, doctors, and even lawyers, particularly those with foreign language skills, should be available.

Consular services

Fans' Embassies should be in close contact with the consular agencies of any countries whose teams are playing locally; in order to deal with issues such as lost passports, etc.

Local laws and regulations

They may differ from prevailing legislation in the supporters' country of origin. Common examples of concern to fans will be drunk-driving laws, local rules concerning drinking in the streets and black market ticket sales.

Tournament details

Information such as schedule of matches, kickoff times, venues, transport arrangements such as shuttle buses have to be provided by the Fans' Embassies.

Regulations concerning crowd management and prohibited items

This might include the location of ticket cordons, objects which may not be taken into stadia, where flags and banners can be fixed, sale of alcohol in stadia, etc.

Tickets

Fans' Embassies do not sell tickets, but they will need to have up-to-date and accurate information from tournament organisers about ticket availability, prices, sales outlets and conditions of sale. Fans' Embassies can also be of assistance to fans by an informal monitoring of the black market situation, including the general number of tickets available and their prices. Clear guidance should be given as to what the legality of the black market is locally, but fans are best served by an objective, non-judgmental dissemination of information.

In order to fulfill all these goals and tasks the Fans' Embassies must have a simple and well-working communication network at their disposal. This communication network must guarantee direct communication with every relevant group or organisation. The lines must be short and direct, in order to get easily in touch with all competent contact persons of any relevant organisation.