Fans Embassies - Euro 2012 Ukraine

Now here is an interesting concept. It maybe not a new idea directly out of the box of new ideas, but it is certainly an interesting concept for Ukraine.

Embassies for fans” situated along side relevant national embassies - Blimey!

Me thinks the UK Consulate building is more appropriate than a tent pitched in the back garden of the Ambassadorial residence. It simply wouldn’t do to have the lawn at the rear trampled and muddied by several thousand drunken Englishmen seeking advice having been conned by a landlord or leggy Ukrainian lovely let alone roughly refused entry into certain Kyiv clubs because they are the wrong colour Englishman.

What is more interesting still, is that it seems the fans will be advising the fans - Really?

One look at the Expat forums in Ukraine or about Ukraine and a fan can find all the bad advice they could possibly wish for. Some forums are better than others however the better ones will state what the law is as written and immediately follow it up with a caveat that whilst the law maybe consistent, interpretation and implementation can vary dramatically from region to region. Thus even 100% correct information provided can in practice be completely irrelevant to circumstances faced by an individual.

Which fans are going to work next to their Embassy’s/Consulates and provide advice that may have absolutely no grounding in fact, or if it is indeed factually correct, proved irrelevant by local authority interpretation?

Would a national Embassy/Consulate want such a facility temporarily planted next to them? Would it not be easier to simply have those with “issues” speak with the Consular staff as they normally would when in the mire?

Does a “Fans Embassy” situated next to the official Embassy/Consular building provide some form of faux authority and inference that any advice given is representative of the relevant government?

Does Ukraine think that the UK Embassy and Consulate in Kyiv will be completely unprepared for Euro 2012 and not already have plans (and hopefully contingency plans) in place?

Given the advice and personal assistance that the UK Embassy can and does give on a personal level for a UK citizen who comes unstuck in Ukraine, unless a fan loses their passport, dies or gets arrested, there is very little than will be done on their behalf. Quite rightly too, the UK Embassy is not your mother and there to wipe your nose, read you a bedtime story and tuck you up in bed feeling all snug, warm and loved-up!

What more, exactly, is a “Fans Embassy” going to do? In fact, considering it can’t replace your passport, could possibly repatriate your dead body (but nowhere near as efficiently as the official UK FCO representatives), and would not be given access to visit a Brit in a cell, the question should be, what will a “Fans Embassy” actually do?

Hand out maps of Kyiv and Donetsk cities with the name written in English in case you get lost? Hand out telephone numbers for English speaking lawyers, dentists, doctors and police? Such things no doubt will be posted on the UK Embassy website temporarily during the competition. They may even be available as an “App” download if the FCO is on the ball and tech savvy.

What is highly unlikely is that a “Fans Embassy” will get involved with a landlord dispute or mediate a resolution with a leggy Ukrainian lovely who some drunken fan feels wronged by after she has allowed him to wine, dine and dance the night away without the resulting Slavic notch on his bedpost.

A small handbook of Ukrainian/Russian phrases in English to point at when our drunken fan cannot get his tongue around such “complicated” sounding words?

A liaison point for taxis to the airport possibly?

Just what will the “Fans Embassies” be telling the fans that the existing Embassies/Consulates cannot or will not and just what exactly will the official Embassies and Consulates be prepared to let “Fans Embassies” tell those that find their way to them in some inferred “official” capacity?

Is it not going to be easier to simply set up twenty or so temporary “tourist/Euro 2012″ information centres dotted around the hosting cities that have no inferred governmental affiliation to nations of visiting fans and thus any advice given will not result in a tempest of complaints to Foreign Ministries should the advice be “suspect”?

What, exactly, is the point of “Fans Embassies”?

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