The FSA are running Fan Embassies before all Lionesses matches during WEURO2022

Starting at the Women’s World Cup in 2019 the Football Supporters Association have endeavoured to create a safe and fun space for fans to meet up before England Women’s games when travelling abroad, reports LOUISE GOLBY.

With the Euros being hosted in England this year they have moved their project onto home soil and will be setting up Fans’ Embassy in the cities the Lionesses will play.

FSA Women’s Game Network Manager Deborah Dilworth hosted the tournament’s first event at Banyan Kitchen and Bar in the Cornmarket, Manchester. At the same time, volunteers were also present at the fan parties in Picadilly Gardens and at Old Trafford. Speaking at Banyan she said: “The Fans’ Embassy service, and Free Lionesses, was created in order to help supporters travel when there are big tournaments. For the last 20 years or so there has always been an embassy for the men’s side but never for the women so in 2019 we had our first one [in France].”

Because this is a home tournament their services are slightly different. While abroad they can help fans with things like lost passports and navigating their surroundings, in England they can be there to offer supporters guides and a sense of community. Fans can meet up with like-minded supporters and chat about all things Lionesses.

Louise and fellow Uni of Derby Football Journalist student Megan at today’s Fan Embassy in Manchester. (@FreeLionesses)

Dilworth said the aim of this project is to encourage supporters to travel abroad in bigger numbers, as well as building a larger team of volunteers. “We’ve got the Women’s World Cup next year and we want to try and get there in as big a number as possible, and then create these hubs for people to have fun before the match to build a bit of atmosphere.”

With the growth of the women’s game, now is as good a time as any to get involved. “Look at the talent of our players, they deserve the most amount of support and I just hope that that continues to grow and more people get involved. We want to get lots of people involved on lots of different levels and it’s about making sure that everybody feels part of the community.”

CHECK OUT THE @FREELIONESSES’ FREE FAN GUIDE TO THE #WEURO2022 HERE: https://bit.ly/FreeLionessesEuro

The team will follow England, setting up fans hubs in both Brighton and Southampton for the group stage. In Brighton they will be at the official fan party at Victoria Gardens as well as setting up their hub in the Tempest Inn Bar. In Brighton they will be in Palmerston Park for the fan party and in the Dancing Man, where they will be hosting their fan embassy before the game and their fan party after; “Whoop whoop,” Dilworth exclaimed.

Supporters can get involved by following the team @FreeLionesses on twitter, volunteering to represent the FSA at events and tournaments help on a local level by setting up a supporters group for your club or volunteering to represent the FSA at events and tournaments.

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