What is BAFF?
Formed in 1993, the Bündnis Aktiver Fussball-Fans [Alliance of Active Football Fans] is a grouping consisting of some 200 supporter institutions (ISAs, fanzines, projects, fan clubs, etc.) and individual members. BAFF is a part of the European network FARE (Football Against Racism in Europe), whose member groups organise events such as the Mondiali Antirazzisti in Italy or campaigns such as the Show Racism the Red Card video project in England. BAFF sees itself as part of a movement of football fans with clearly defined interests that is demanding its rights.
What does BAFF want?
BAFF's elementary aim is to preserve a fan culture that has evolved over many decades as a live stadium experience of high value in entertainment and social integration terms. This includes the struggle against racism and discrimination, the excessive commercialisation of football with all its negative ramifications (all-seater stadia, the omnipotence of television, unreasonable kick-off times, rising prices, unjust ticket allocations, pre-match 'entertainment' etc.) and the increasingly repressive conduct of the police and stewards.
What does BAFF do?
BAFF members, who are organised all over Germany and in regular contact via a mailing list, attempt to implement the aims of BAFF in their local areas, be it via fanzines, websites, projects, supporter-run shops, ISAs, campaigns or the 'march through the institutions', i.e. by gaining a say in the running of their clubs as members and/or through work on club bodies. National meetings attended by as many as 300 fans are staged twice a year to discuss current issues. Previous guests have included sports journalist Christoph Biermann, authors Jürgen Roth and Dietrich Schulze-Marmeling, Mike Ticher (When Saturday Comes), Carlo Balestri (Progetto Ultra), Kevin Miles (Football Supporters Association), as well as representatives from the German Football Association (DFB), the Coordinating Body for the German Fan Projects (KOS), the German Footballers' Union (VDV), the police and television. In 1994 and 1995, BAFF organised demonstrations outside the headquarters of the DFB in Frankfurt and UEFA in Geneva respectively. BAFF delegations were also in attendance at the inaugural congress of the Italian ultras in Bologna in 1995 and at the 'Fans United Days' held in Brighton in 1997 and 1998. It goes without saying that BAFF members regularly attend the Mondiali Antirazzisti in Italy!
BAFF drew up a nine-point plan against racism and distributed it to every German club, as well as a standard anti-racism clause for inclusion in stadium regulations and a catalogue of demands against homophobia in football. BAFF also formulated a programme for the supporter-friendly organisation of major international tournaments that was presented in the European Parliament in Brussels in 2000. Thanks to its excellent media contacts, BAFF was able to sensitise public opinion to the issues it campaigns upon in a long-term process involving articles in numerous local and national newspapers. The slogan 'Sitzen ist für´n Arsch' [roughly: Only bums sit on seats] became known internationally. BAFF experts are regularly asked to comment on current issues and developments and were even able to draw attention to the interests of supporters at the FIFA World Congress in Buenos Aires. BAFF members have published numerous books, the latest bearing the title 'Ballbesitz ist Diebstahl' [Ball possession is theft]. The successful travelling exhibition 'Tatort Stadion' [The Stadium - Scene of the Crime] has created much furore and is booked up for years to come. BAFF supports the objectives of the supporter groups PRO15:30 and Kein Kick Ohne Fans; with members taking part in the fan demonstration staged in Berlin in 2002 and numerous activities for the preservation of fan culture.