Core Group Meeting - 2019

The Core Group

The Football Supporters Europe (FSE) Fans’ Embassy core group was formed in 2011 ahead of UEFA EURO 2012. It is represented on the FSE Board by Michael Gabriel.

Due to their expertise and geographical diversity (8 nations are represented), the core group have an in depth understanding of football fans and fans’ culture from across the continent.

The experience gained by members of the core group at previous international tournaments is essential to establishing new Fans’ Embassies and building relationships with key football stakeholders.

Below you will find a description of all members of the core group. 

Project Manager – Matt Willis (Project Manager, FSE)

Matt joined FSE at the start of 2020. Matt is FSE’s Fans’ Embassies Project Manager, overseeing all work related to UEFA EURO 2020 and other matters that impact the Fans’ Embassies Division. He will be working with key stakeholders in each host city and representatives from each participating nation to make the project a success. Matt has 4 years’ experience with the English Fans’ Embassy team, the Free Lions, including at UEFA EURO 2016 and the FIFA World Cup in 2018. Matt is a graduate of Durham University, where he wrote a dissertation reviewing expressions of national identity at EURO 2016. Matt, for his sins, is a supporter of Newcastle United.

Director – Michael Gabriel (KOS Fanprojekte, Germany)

Michael Gabriel is the head of KOS, which was set up in 1993 to accompany, coordinate, and participate in the establishment of further projects for the German social-educational fanprojekte. Michael is also the Director of the FSE Fans´ Embassies division. In his younger years he was a successful football player, even winning the German championship with the youth Team of Eintracht Frankfurt, a club that remains close to his heart. Michael was one of the pioneers in the foundation of Fans´ Embassies, running a German Fans´ Embassy for the first time in the 1990s.

Sarah Agerklint  (Danske Fodbold Fanklubber, Denmark)

Sarah is the main coordinator for the Danish Fans’ Embassy and the Danish fan contact for the Danish FA and Danish SLO. Sarah is co-chair of the national fans’ group Danske Fodbold Fanklubber and, in her capacity as a Brøndby IF fan, the chair of her local Brøndby supporters’ club. Sarah’s enthusiasm for the game does not, unfortunately, extend to the pitch. As she observes, “If I get within a meter of a football, I’m more likely to tackle myself rather than my opponent. That’s why I’m happy in the stands!”

Paul Corkrey (Football Supporters Association Cymru, Wales)

Paul is a member of the Football Supporters’ Association’s (FSA) National Council and is the coordinator for FSA Cymru. In the latter role, Paul primarily deals with issues relating to Welsh national team fans, but also covers domestic football issues. He first became involved in fan activism during the 1990s, through his support of Cardiff City, campaigning against football banning orders and the kettling of football fans in the UK. Paul became involved with Fans’ Embassies for the first time in 2002, and was later elected to the FSE Board, on which he still serves. Paul has successfully run Fans’ Embassies in more than 30 European nations, including at UEFA EURO 2016 in France.

Elena Erkina (Fans’ Embassy Russia, Russia)

Elena is CEO of Fans’ Embassy Russia, which aims to at develop social initiatives among football fans in Russia and support related projects, particularly around international cooperation at major football tournaments such as the UEFA European Championship and FIFA World Cup. Elena studied social and sport sciences in Russia and Europe. Currently, she is actively involved in cross-border cooperation projects between Russia and EU countries that are targeted at developing extensive sport and social relations through people-to-people cooperation. Elena will be overseeing all of FSE’s work in Saint Petersburg.

Lukas Meier (Fanarbeit Schweiz – FaCH, Switzerland)

Lukas is the project lead at Fanarbeit Switzerland and a member of Fanarbeit Bern (Young Boys Bern). In his position at Fanarbeit Switzerland, Lukas has been the head of the Swiss Fans’ Embassy since 2016. Lukas is a founding member and co-president of the Young Boys Bern fan initiative halbzeit/unite against racism.

Kevin Miles (Football Supporters Association – FSA, England) 

Kevin is the Chief Executive of the Football Supporters Association (FSA) and was a pioneer in the founding of Fans’ Embassies. With over 30 years’ experience of running Fans’ Embassies at England internationals, Kevin has been an integral part of the core group since its inception. Kevin also sits on Kick It Out’s Professional Game Guidance Group. As a Newcastle United and England fan, he is not used to seeing much success on the field.

Jim Spratt (FSE Board)

Jim represents Head, Heel or Toe NISC and is a board member of FSE, to which he was first elected in 2015 when the Amalgamation of Official Northern Ireland Supporter Clubs (AONISC) hosted the FSE Fans’ Congress in Belfast. AONISC are committed to the concept and values of Fans’ Embassies and were happy to get the opportunity to run a Fans’ Embassy when Northern Ireland qualified for the first time at UEFA EURO 2016 in France.

Ronan Evain (FSE Board)

Ronan has been the Executive Director of FSE since November 2016, having coordinated the work of the organisation at UEFA EURO 2016 in France. As Executive Director, he coordinates the activities of FSE, oversees its financial affairs, and is responsible for public relations and lobbying. Ronan is a fan of FC Nantes.  

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