SLOs a force for positive change in Austria
Austrian SLOs have been involved in a number of positive initiatives recently. Earlier this month, for example, the Austrian Bundesliga introduced maximum ticket prices for away sections at matches in the Tipico Bundesliga and the second-tier Sky Go Erste Liga. The maximum prices will take effect from the beginning of the 2017-18 season. This was a key issue for fans and the SLOs of the Austrian clubs lobbied strongly for the introduction of the new regulation.
All 20 clubs in the top two divisions reached agreement on the new maximum prices, which compare favourably with prices for away match tickets in other leagues across Europe. The new ruling has the advantage that instead of standard across-the-board prices the circumstances of the individual away section can be taken into account (e.g. does it have a roof or not?). The ticket price can also be set below the higher limit, as before. Higher ticket prices for Category A matches, for example, which had come in for constant criticism from supporters, are now a thing of the past.
In the Bundesliga a maximum ticket price of 20 euros for covered away sections and 16 euros for uncovered sections will apply for the next two seasons.
In the second division the maximum prices have been set for just one season in view of the new composition of the league following the recent structural reform (see below). They are 16 euros for covered away sections and 12 euros for uncovered away sections. The previous regulation requiring away tickets to be sold at the same price as equivalent tickets for home fans has been revoked, allowing clubs more flexibility when pricing tickets for home fans.
Bundesliga board member Christian Ebenbauer said: “We took the concerns of the fans regarding outliers in ticket prices for away sections seriously and discussed the issue with the clubs. It’s pleasing that all 20 clubs approved a uniform regulation. As a result, tickets for individual games, and in some cases every game, will be up to seven euros cheaper at nearly half the clubs next season.“
Earlier this season Austrian SLOs and supporter representatives were involved in two meetings (in Linz on 8.10.2016 and Vienna on 12.11.2016) to discuss the proposed reform of the Austrian league system (from two leagues of 10 teams each to two of 12 and 16 teams respectively). At each of these meetings some 40 SLOs and supporters gathered to discuss at length the dos & don’ts with regard to the 12-team format:
- No model with “best of 3” final matches (especially for the championship title)
- The play-off system should be as simple as possible
- All points to be transferred from the first phase of the season to the second
- Sporting incentive for the lower group (1 Europa League ticket, 7th place only)
- Majority demand for a relegation/promotion play-off place (11th)
As always, the travel costs of the SLOs were met by the Bundesliga from fines imposed on clubs for improper supporter behaviour. Participation in the meetings is a licence criterion and a condition for continued receipt of the expense payment of 1,500 euros remitted to clubs per SLO per season.
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 SLO requirement originated in 2009 as a result of detailed talks between UEFA and SD Europe. It was approved by the UEFA Executive Committee in 2010, with SD Europe appointed to manage its implementation across UEFA’s 55 member associations. If you would like to learn more, visit the SLO section on the SD Europe website or get in touch via email@example.com.