Direct communication with football fans is the way forward for the Belarus Football Federation, with fans being invited to raise questions about the country's football.
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The Belarus Football Federation has launched a new form of direct communication with football fans, replacing monthly briefings for media representatives.
Starting in January, at the end of every month, two fans from different Belarusian clubs are invited to the federation’s TV studio for a discussion with the general secretary, Sergei Safaryan. The idea came up because of the negative attitude of certain local media, who continuously misinformed football fans.
The new format allows guest fans to raise any questions they have about football in Belarus. Other fans also have the opportunity to take part by sending questions by email or via the federations’ official social media accounts. The discussion is streamed live on the federation’s website.
The first two editions turned into a real debate, with fans of champion club FC BATE and top-division newcomers FC Krumkachy, and, for the second discussion, fans of lower-tier FC Luch and FC Molodechno raising numerous questions of current interest. The first discussion lasted for almost three hours, after which the time limit was altered to 90 minutes, to match the length of a football match. The clubs invited to select fans for the next discussion are chosen by the fans taking part in the previous session.
If the first discussions are anything to go by, it seems to be a great way of communicating without intermediaries and one that broadened the variety of topics on the table. At the same time, media coverage on leading sports websites and other media platforms has not decreased, whereas the number of links to our website has increased.
This article originally appeared in UEFA Direct No166