Partners of the Erasmus+ funded SAFER (Support & Awareness for Female fans in European football through Research, prevention, and remedy) met for the first in-person meeting of the project at the University of Gdańsk, Poland earlier this month (14th – 15th April, 2023).
Football Supporters Europe (FSE), as lead partner, were joined by representatives from the Deutscher Fußball-Bund (Germany), the University of Gdańsk (Poland), Atletico San Lorenzo (Italy), Autoridade para a Prevenção e o Combate à Violência no Desporto (Portugal), FanNetværket for Kvinder (Denmark), and the European Football Development Network (Netherlands).
SAFER sees supporters and a crosssection of experts and football stakeholders working together to tackle gender-based violence and discrimination in the game by establishing prevention and remedy mechanisms for football fans and other match attendees.
Over the two days, partners discussed and progressed the initial tasks in the project’s work including the beginning of the research process as well as identifying pilot site football stadiums to focus on. Additionally, they had the opportunity to exchange their experiences and ideas related to the subject matter more generally.
Whilst in Gdańsk, the SAFER project’s dedicated website (saferproject.eu) was launched, which will be at the centre of disseminating the project’s progress and outcomes. A SAFER newsletter is live on the website and can be subscribed to by signing up at the bottom of the homepage.
Mattia Angelini, FSE’s EU Projects Specialist said following the meeting: “Bringing the partners together for the first time and the discussions that took place leaves no questions about the significance and necessity to achieve the aims and objectives SAFER is working towards. The partners come from a broad range of society who all have a stake in tackling gender-based violence in football. It was very encouraging to see the discussions in the room at such an early stage in the project.”
Radoslaw Kassowski, Associate Professor in Sociology at the University of Gdańsk added: “I am delighted that the University of Gdańsk is one of the partners in the SAFER project and that we hosted the first in-person meeting. Our university takes the social responsibility of research very seriously and is keen to be involved in projects that combine research with social engagement. The SAFER project is an excellent example that science and social action can go hand in hand. We spent two intensive, productive days in Gdańsk, and I’m sure that every future project meeting will be the same.”
Following the meeting, the next steps will see the project partners collaboratively decide on the pilot sites that will be the focus of research and remedy and prevention implementation.
The next in-person meeting will see EFDN host the project partners in Breda, Netherlands in early 2024.