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SLO

The Supporter Liaison Officer project (SLO)

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Under Article 35 of the UEFA Club Licensing and Financial Fair Play Regulations, clubs across Europe are required to appoint a supporter liaison officer (SLO) to ensure proper and constructive discourse between them and their fans. The introduction of this licensing requirement constitutes a landmark in club-supporter relations and emphasises the importance attached to dialogue and communication between clubs and fans.

Supported by fans

In recent years fan representatives across Europe have highlighted the need for improved communications between supporters, clubs, governing bodies and the police and eventually proposed the implementation of SLOs after intensive discussion at national and European levels.

Supported by UEFA and national associations

UEFA believes such dialogue better reflects the nature of football as a game with a variety of interest groups whose views need to be considered. Football fans were for a long time ignored in this dialogue, but are now considered valued stakeholders/members of the football family.

Resources

There is a variety of resources related to the SLO project, produced by SD Europe, Licensing Bodies (national associations and leagues), club SLOs, supporters' organisations (eg FSE), European Institutions (Council of Europe, European Union). We have group them in five categories:

FAQs

Does my club have to have an SLO?
UEFA requires that at least the clubs that play in its competitions (the Champions League and the Europe League) have an SLO. Most National Associations extend this criteria to all top tier clubs while others go even further and require a SLO from all clubs up to the 4th tier.

So, if your club applies for a licence to play in a UEFA competition then it does have to have an SLO. Otherwise, you can check with your club (we recommend that the SLO contact details are publicly available on the club's website) or with your national football association/league.

 

Who do I contact to find out about the SLO? SD Europe, my club or UEFA?
In the first instance you should contact your club, and if this proves unsuccessful, the SLO coordinator for the national association/league in which your club play.

 

How do I contact the SLO of another club?
Our recommendation is that the contact details of the SLOs are publicly available on the club's website. If you can't find them, you can ask for help from the relevant national football association/league or send an email to slo [at] supporters-direct.coop.

 

What is a National SLO Coordinator?
Each national club licensing body has appointed one person as a SLO coordinator responsible for the management, coordination, development and monitoring of the project at domestic level. In most cases, the licensing body is the football association, though in some countries it is the league (e.g. Germany, Switzerland, Austria, England, Sweden, Denmark, France).

 

What are SD Europe doing to spread the message about SLOs? What is your jurisdiction at national level?
SD Europe are working with football governing bodies in all 54 UEFA member countries to develop the SLO initiative. This involves producing the UEFA SLO handbook, numerous toolkits for use by national associations and SLOs and a regular newsletter for all 54 SLO coordinators and licensing managers. We also assist with training at dedicated seminars and workshops and help national associations to spread best practice at bilateral SLO meetings before Champions League and Europa League matches, for example. SD Europe manage the official SLO twitter account (@SuppLiaison #fanliaison #SLO).We have no jurisdiction at national level and our assistance is limited to advising the national SLO Coordinators and assisting them as they see fit.

 

How can I become a SLO?
You should contact your club, as there is no set procedure for appointing an SLO. Often, suitable candidates will "suggest themselves" as they will have been involved in dealing with their club for several years. Some clubs may advertise the post, some will make an appointment after consulting with the main supporter groups, while others will appoint direct as they would for any other position.

 

Should the SLO be a genuine supporter or an existing staff member?
It is down to the club to decide who they appoint as the SLO. Some will decide to appoint an existing member of staff, others will choose someone from the fan base. Whoever fulfils the role, it is important that they understand the needs and wants of supporters. SD Europe take the view that supporters have an expertise and knowledge of supporter issues that is not ordinarily available on the marketplace and this is why we recommend the appointment of a genuine supporter for the role.

 

What is the profile of a good SLO?
Credibility is the key attribute. The SLO must establish relations and have the trust of the various stakeholders, such as the club, the fans, safety officers and stewards, and the police. They should be independent of the club board and ideally not hold any positions in a supporter organisation once appointed. The three main areas of work where they should be competent are: dialogue (managing the flow of communications between fans and the club and other stakeholders), service (assisting and advising fans and clubs etc.), and prevention (liaising with safety officers, police and stewards to minimise conflict).

 

How do SLOs work with supporters' organisations - are they a threat to the relationship of my trust/supporters club/ultra group with the club?
The role of the SLO is to facilitate dialogue, not lead it. SLOs should work with all supporter groups as well as individual fans. SLOs should not pose a threat to any supporter group. On the contrary, they exist to improve the dialogue and relationships between fans and clubs, and supporter groups should actively consider putting forward one of their members for the role. SLOs are employed/appointed by the club and are not supporter representatives.

History

In a survey conducted by Supporters Direct on behalf of UEFA in 2007, the majority of the member associations consulted expressed the view that the dialogue between supporters and associations and between supporters and clubs is worth improving because it enables supporters to become more serious and responsible partners.

Having acknowledged fans as major stakeholders in the game, and by backing the pan-European supporter organisations SD Europe and Football Supporters Europe (FSE) and the work of Football Against Racism in Europe (FARE) and the Centre for Access to Football in Europe (CAFE), UEFA is helping to set standards for supporter groups, and. UEFA's approach was reiterated by its president when he said: "The supporters are the lifeblood of professional football – they are the identity of the clubs. Owners, coaches and players change but supporters always remain. At UEFA we try to incorporate the views of the fans into what we do".

Article 35, Club Licensing and Financial Fair Play Regulations

Under Article 35 of the UEFA Club Licensing and Financial Fair Play Regulations, clubs across Europe are required to appoint a supporter liaison officer (SLO) to ensure proper and constructive discourse between them and their fans. The introduction of this licensing requirement constitutes a landmark in club-supporter relations and emphasises the importance attached to dialogue and communication between clubs and fans.

 
In particular, according to article 35:

  1. The license applicant must have appointed a supporter liaison officer to act as the key contact point for supporters.

  2. The supporter liaison officer will regularly meet and collaborate with the relevant club personnel on all related matters.

 

Article 35 is the result of detailed talks between UEFA and SD Europe. The SLO concept gained full approval in 2009/10 from the national associations represented on the UEFA Club Licensing Committee and was drawn up in close cooperation with SD Europe. An expert group was set up to support UEFA and SD Europe in the implementation of the project. Supporters and national associations were informed about the project and asked for their feedback, which has been integrated into this handbook.

 

Article 35 pursues the following aims:

  • To establish networks of SLOs at a national and European level to facilitate the sharing of knowledge and best practice and to improve the relationships between the various stakeholders, in particular the relationship between supporters and club directors/owners/safety and security organisations.

  • To provide some guarantee that a minimum level of communication flow occurs between club and supporters and hence reduce the likelihood of supporters becoming disenfranchised.

  • To better align the ability of supporters to feed into club decision making with their massive importance to the club.

  • To provide incentive for largely unorganised club supporter bases to come together and voice their beliefs. A better organised fan base will have added power to its voice and the SLO will provide an improved opportunity for this voice to be heard.

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