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TIFO Magazine is a premium biannual publication documenting supporter subculture in football. The publication uses an unconventional approach to collecting stories which celebrate the worlds game. As a multilingual magazine, we're able to gather content from various perspectives and offer these stories to a broader audience.

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News

Unity of Devotion

When The Air Was Clean

David Oliva

The Stadio Flaminio, designed by Antonio Nervi, was completed in 1959 and was mostly devoted to football matches, even serving as the venue for the football final in the 1960 Olympics. In the past, this stadium has been the site for a number of both AS. Roma, and SS Lazio matches, when both teams needed an alternative to the better known Stadio Olimpico. This stadium remains significant in Rome as a symbol for pre modern football. The football of the past when stadiums were built exclusively for the purpose of hosting sporting events, and without the influence of corporate sponsors.

Today, this stadium is being re-purposed to accommodate the activities of the Football Association, who intend on making it into a training center for the Under-21 national team and bellow. Although it is too early to comment on the project, the intentions seem fitting for such a symbolic ground. By using it to host youth football at the highest level, they are returning to a time in which the motivation for playing is the game itself, rather then the big money sponsors that sustain it.

Learn more about the Stadio Flaminio in TIFO 2, and see how this stadium represents football in a time in which the air was clean…

Football Take Me Home

David Oliva

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In TIFO2, Director Douglas Hurcombe shares with us his experiences in Japan following the aftermath of the Tsunami that hit the coast in 2011 - a catastrophe that left 20 000 people dead or missing. Many of which were supporters of their cities club, Vegalta Sendai, who would never have the luxury of attending a match again.

Dedication to the Stateless

David Oliva

In mid-June, the world turned to Brazil. One week prior, a very different tournament took place in Ostersund, Sweden. Away from the massive television contracts, we saw unrecognized FAs – those that are unable to even attempt to qualify for the FIFA World Cup – take to the pitch as ConIFA hosts its first World Football Cup. Whereas in Brazil the 32 participants from UN-recognized countries came together and removed the spotlight from world politics, the twelve teams at ConIFA played with their individual strife at the front, the hope of eventual self-determination and reunification of various diaspora always on their minds as we question what ethnicity means in an evermore-globalizing world. Darfur United, an all-refugee team made up of the best players from twelve camps that dot the Chad-Sudan border, was created in 2012. The team was taken to compete in the Viva World Cup in Iraqi Kurdistan. More recently, they participated in the ConIFA World Football Cup.

Teams like Ellan Vannin and Sápmi were formed as a means of protecting unique cultural heritages that are shrinking and blending with surrounding cultures, whereas Darfur United find themselves and their people without a country. Teams like Abkhazia, Nagoro-Karabakh, South Ossetia, and Tamil Eelam make their homes in disputed territories typically unable to gain proper international recognition for self-determination, in many ways remaining trapped under the law of countries they do not call their own. Others like Padania, Occitania, and Nice County feel they are under-represented in their respective countries and seek autonomy – and sometimes more.

What ConIFA accomplished during this one-week tournament is worthy of multiple Hollywood scripts. Fast forward to the tournament’s trophy ceremony that everyone proudly lifted above their heads as one deserving team. The event hall saw lifelong friendships being formed between people from opposite sides of the world as they were brought together by football and desire to be recognised. In the end, to the joy of Darfur United’s players the entire banquet hall began chanting in unison, in dedication to the stateless. “Darfur-United!”

Read the full feature of Darfur United in TIFO2 titled Darfur Re-United.

He Who Betrays

Gianni Venturino

A tradition in English football that is as iconic as the team itself is Liverpool’s pre-match anthem. Sung by thousands in mass chorus, “You’ll Never Walk Alone”, can be heard echoing the streets around the stadium. The song, original recorded in 1945 as a show-tunes song, was rerecorded by local band, Gerry and the Pacemakers. A song which TIFO cover artist Alessandro Moroder encapsulates with his timeless art installation. Legend has it that a local radio station in the northeastern city would play their weekly top 10, in descending order. Unbeknownst to the station, the weeks’ number one song would typically correspond to the start of each home match. After the song fell off the charts, fans associated the beginning of the game with said song, creating a new tradition that has been in place for over 50 years. The song title is written on the team’s crest, jerseys, scarves, and most ironically, on their stadium’s entrance gate. This tradition became so popular that other non-English speaking clubs have since re-appropriated it into their traditions, teams such as the Netherlands’ Feyenoord, Germany’s Borussia Dortmund, and even Japan’s F.C.. Tokyo.

In the winter of 2011, beloved Spanish international striker Fernando Torres stated, “My commitment and loyalty to the club (Liverpool F.C..) and to the fans is the same as it was on my first day when I signed”, four months later, and after an Illustrious four-years at the club, he completed a bitter transfer to rival southwestern London club Chelsea F.C.

This neon directly references a banner from a Liverpool supporter directed at Torres upon his return to the place where he called home stating, “He Who Betrays Will Always Walk Alone”. A simple cotton banner with bold black spray paint letters reveal a haunting, and clever, statement that paints the player as someone who was clearly once cherished but has now crossed the divide.

Football and Revolutions – CLIPPED Day 3

Gianni Venturino

On Saturday, in anticipation of the 3rd - 4th place match featuring Brazil, FBB teamed up with us to host a day of films of football and Revolutions.  Between Egypt, Turkey, and Brazil, 2013 saw some of the largest protests in recent memory.  What is less known, is that in all three of these cases football supporters have played a pivotal role in front lines of these movements. We began with Rua e Publica,  a short that showed the effects of the World Cup for children living in the favelas of Belo Horizonte, and how they rebel in their own small way in search of a field to play on.  This led us into the first of two features, called Vandalismo.  Vandalismo, or Vandals, is a movie made by a collective of independent journalists who documented the Anti-confederations cup protests in Fortaleza.

In the film they show how protesters were inspired by the movements in Turkey and Egypt in learning how to deal with tear gas and other excessive uses of police force.  The “Torcideros” (hard core supporters) are accused of hi-jacking the movement, and instigating violence and vandalism during an otherwise peaceful protest.  On the other hand, those in the front lines, including students, football fans, and other disenfranchised youths, made the case that it is FIFA, the government and sponsoring corporations that are, in a sense, vandalizing Brazil.  Perhaps with is best summed up with the line “what is a few cans of graffiti and some broken windows compared to 250,000 people displaced from their homes?”

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Istanbul United, the final film of the forum, is an incredible depiction of how the lines between football supporters, activist, and vandal can quickly become blurred.  The film documents how the unification of supporters from Istanbul’s historically rivaled clubs, Besiktas, Fenerbahce, and Galatasaray served as an important counterweight to government overstepping its authority and abusing their power.  In Turkey, these clubs are institutions, with social clubs, schools, universities, and multi-sport associations.  The supporters of these clubs truly view their own team as a separate identity and culture, and the organic unification that occurred throughout the Gezi park protests is a testament to how football is transcendent.

Following the film, the Co-Director, Olli Wildhauer opened up to the theater’s questions. Activists and journalists in attendance were left shocked at how well he was able to depict the disorienting nature of both stadium terraces and violent protests.  The juxtaposition between the two, and the how this led the supporters he followed to express unity in one context and absolute disdain for the other in another context.

Supporters groups are complicated.  We have to remember that they cannot be stereotyped with a single political opinion, and view on the world.  In the end it is a group of friends, and within all informal social groups, there is bound to be a wide range of opinions.  What is perhaps most interesting about the case of Istanbul, is that these people were all galvanized to protect a public park.  A park is a space for open discourse, just like a stadium terrace.  As the supporters lobby for the rights of their community week after week in the stands, they united across club lines in order to protect a similar space that is open to society as a whole.

Women in football – CLIPPED Day 2

Gianni Venturino

On Friday night Clipped football forum approached the issue of women in Football.  Featuring three stories, attendees got a glimpse into how football, however accessible it may seem in our local realities, is withheld from millions around the world. In Senegal, Afghanistan and Iran, we got a taste for how both female players and supporters are struggling to be accepted within their own football communities.  Perhaps what was most striking is that by and large, average citizens seemed unified in their belief that the female side of the sport deserves a bigger voice.

In all three cases, government institutions were cited as being the root of the problem.  This was made most evident in “Ladies Turn”, when both the local minister and the sports minister displayed just how backward the status quo amongst those in government, truly is.

In “Offside”, a feature/documentary (in that it is filmed during an actual World Cup qualifier) the director blurred the lines between fiction and reality.  In the final seen, once Iran has won, qualifying for the Germany 2006, the protagonists of the film (6 female supporters who had snuck in dressed as men in order to watch the match live) were all greeted by Iranians celebrating this triumph.  By filming this movie around real life events, the story (although fictional) portrays the reality versus the perceived reality of women in Iran.

In between films, Natasha Henry, Kelly Welles of the Football Ramble, and Milana Knežević of the Offside Rule Podcast gave us an insight into the plight of women in the world of Football journalism.  It has long been known that women are not equally represented in sports journalism, but their anecdotes provided some perspectives on just how this inequality manifests itself.  All three speakers noted that there is a stereotype of the female football journalist, and even where some progress has been made, it is still an injustice that they have to battle that prejudice every day.

In football, the culture surrounding the game is particularly slow, stunted by a relatively homogenous leadership, (mostly white wealthy males) and a media industry (the Daily Mail and the SUN) who seem more than happy to maintain this hierarchy.  The culture of focusing on player wives and their shopping habits, or the disproportionate and often sexist demonization of women at top levels of the game, has created an environment where the female voice is not respected.  As our magazine moves forward, we are interested in confronting these realities, and giving voice to everybody who is united by their

Football and Resistance - CLIPPED Day 1

Gianni Venturino

The first night of Clipped football forum presented the films “Coach Zoran and his African Tigers” followed by “Goal Dreams”.  Both films delivered an insight into how football can be a tool for expressing their right to nationhood.  Both featured a European protagonist as coach, trying to unite ethnically and culturally divided teams in an attempt to instill a sense of national pride and identity.  The directors of the films used football and the experiences of foreign coaches operating within limited contexts in order to present the intricacies and cultural nuances of two vey significant cultural movements. The first film was a moving story about the birth of a nation following 50 years of war and conflict.  Seen through the eyes of an outsider, who, through his experience in Serbia, understood the importance of football’s role in nation building, and attempted to apply it to the youngest nation in the world.

Goal Dreams, a film about Palestinian resistance gave great insight into the importance of sport in establishing identity and solidarity throughout this stateless nation.  The film, shot in 2006, and the following Q&A showed how the challenges that Palestinians face on a daily basis, even encroaches on the livelihood of the national team.  In the film, over half the team was held in Gaza till just 10 days before their WC qualifying match.  To make matters worse, the team fell apart as a result of cultural differences amongst the players leading to divisions within the locker room.

Palestinian footballer, Mahmoud Sarsak gave us some interesting reflections into the cause of this, noting that as territories are occupied, or as the freedom of movement becomes more difficult throughout Palestine, different identities have begun to form themselves. Palestinians in Egypt, Lebanon, Gaza, Chile, and even to the United States all made up the national squad together, but their divisions were representative of emergent Palestinian cultures following the Israeli occupation.

In light of recent events, following the Palestine’s victory in the 2014 AFC Championships, and the current bombings between Israel and Gaza over the last week, it was particularly interesting to learn how Israel has continued to attack Palestinian sporting facilities.  Four football pitches have been bombed over the last 5 days, and in the last couple of months, two football players were shot in the legs by the Israeli military.  These blatant attacks of Palestinian football culture only serve to demonstrate the power of sport to make us feel united.  As we learned tonight by speaking with the panelists as well as other guests, football is truly a uniting force and thus it is often viewed as a threat by those who would seek to divide.

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YOUNG, ORGANIZED & ACTIVE

Gianni Venturino

JOC is a youth organization for and by the youth. We take action against repression, racism, as well as housing, and workers' rights. We are an anti-capitalist organization. The youth is an important part of the power of the oppressed; we want to contribute to taking it back. In the face of rising islamophobia and racism in general, we are an active in anti-racist and antifascist organization. For example: in Liege, Belgium, we do work against the way our society sees and acts with migrants through hiphop and art events that promote exchanges and encounters.  In april members of JOC manages to blocked a far-right meeting in Brussels. We were attacked by skinheads but fought back and won after having out numbered the attackers. After the May elections we organized a demonstration against the presence of the far right in the European parliament. 2500 youth took the street and traveled from the European parliament to the European commission denouncing the violence and brutality of fascism but also linking their rise to the attacks on our social well being that are being led by the European states and the commission.  For us their can be no peace, equality or future within capitalism.

We are not a football-linked organization. But our youth play football and we took the initiative to visit the Mondiali Antirazzisti and live the experience of this communal effort against discrimination. We are enthusiastic about the solidarity and fair play shown on the fields. Sports - football in particular - unites the masses. The general mood of camaraderie, friendship and exchange outside of the playing field is also rich. We're overflowing with ideas to bring back home and test in our home town.

Our experiences with the organizations, volunteers, supporter groups and ultras were all very enlightening. JOC is enthusiastic about embracing the lessons we've learned and will attempt to replicate them through our organization by using football as an activation for the first time.

In Belgium, JOC would like to mix its activities, with the two other “worlds” present here in bologna; the young migrants who live through racism on a daily basis via their associations, and the world of left wing ultras. Essentially, we'd like to revisit the Mondiali, continue to learn and collaborate with the various entities here, and eventually launch a similar tournament including the conferences, debates and work shops.

But this is for the future. Right now we are grateful for this fantastic moment, for all the people we met on football grounds and for all those who made this huge event possible. So love the game, fight racism and smash fascism.

Mondiali Antirazzisti - Final Reflections

Gianni Venturino

Back in Rome following the Mondiali Antirazzisti and our work has never felt so important.  After 8 days of volunteering, hosting workshops, and making contacts for future issues we can definitely conclude that our experience great success.   Supporters from all over the world united by anti racism and anti fascism playing in a 168 team 7 a side football tournament; together with youth groups, grass-roots organizations, and Migrant associations.  From the Football Supporters Europe (FSE) Fans Congress, to working with the YAP volunteers, to dancing till early morning with Ultras from some of Europe’s biggest clubs, its hard to describe the feeling that comes over you at the Bosco Albergati. An overwhelming sense of euphoria sparked by the togetherness and unity that is brought on by a love football and music, and disdain for all forms of prejudice.  The Mondiali are special because they are truly more than football.  Out here, under the Emilian sun the Italian Partizan spirit, rooted in fighting racism, seems to take hold of you.

In the future, we want to work together with these institutions to continue to improve and build upon the Mondiali Antirazzisti.  Like most great things, the Mondiali more than just an event, they are an idea that aims to use sport to really break down our differences and find common ground.  By removing people from their comfort zones, bringing them into tents, surrounded by different languages and cultures, you find people everywhere showing the best of themselves.  Its not just about Ultras, and supporters.  It is about everyone coming together, from different aspects of society, and uniting under a message that the supporters promote and display on the terraces week in and week out.  That is the power of their movement, and through the Mondiali they are able to grow, and expand their contacts and social awareness.

Where supporters groups may find themselves preaching to the quire in their local gatherings.  In Castelfranco, they are engaging with the world, not via satellite tv, but in a much more meaningful way.

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GLOBAL PERSPECTIVE

David Oliva

The Mondiali Antirazzisti is made largely possible thanks to the hundreds of volunteers that have offered their time and energy for a cause against discrimination. During our time here, we've collected journals from a few of the many who were willing to share their story. The first of which from a Catalonian on his second term here - Uri. URI_1 URI_2