Apart from the regular standard training, education and strategy meetings, 2015/16 saw a number of developments of landmark importance in the evolution of the SLO project.
In January 2016 SD Europe were awarded observer status on the Standing Committee of the European Convention on Spectator Violence (TR-V) for a renewable period of three years. And towards the end of the season SD Europe organised, with the support of UEFA, the inaugural European SLO network meeting in Sweden.
In another key development, the Hellenic Football Federation (HFF) completed a series of visits to Greek clubs to evaluate the work of the SLOs, while the Scottish Football Association (SFA) became the third governing body (following the examples of UEFA/SD Europe and Lega Serie A/Supporters in Campo) to partner with a supporter organisation for the implementation of the SLO project.
Last but not least, SD Europe are coordinating a two-year Erasmus+ programme, in which two members of the European SLO network (Thomas Kirschner of Schalke 04 and Pierre Nordberg of Malmö FF) are representing their clubs.
All news, resources and information on the SLO project can be found on the new SD Europe website and are disseminated via our regular news briefing and our social media (Facebook, Twitter and YouTube).
The Bulgarian Football Union (BFU), the Croatian Football Federation (HNS), the Danish Football League (Divisionsforeningen), the Spanish Football Federation (RFEF), the Swedish Football League (SEF) and the Football Federation of Ukraine (FFU) all ran SLO workshops with SD Europe in attendance. The German SLOs held their annual assembly and regular meeting which was attended – for the first time – by SLOs of 3rd tier clubs. The Swedish Football League (SEF) introduced a new SLO training programme and the Andorran Football Federation (FAF), the Polish Football Federation (PZPN), the Portuguese Football Federation (FPF), the Italian Lega Serie B continued their successful domestic training programmes. At the annual security conference in Norway, the Norwegian Football Federation (NFF) and the Norwegian Football League (NTF) announced the commencement of the ‘Stand Up For Football’ project, inspired by the success a similar project has had in Sweden.
Regarding strategy and information meetings, SD Europe visited the Royal Belgian Football Association (KBVB) and the Pro League, the Bulgarian Football Union (BFU), the French Football Federation (FFF), the French Football League (LFP) and the Association Nationale des Supporters (ANS), the Dutch Football Association (KNVB) for a meeting with the SLOs and the SLO working group, the Hellenic Football Federation (HFF), the Israel Football Association (IFA) and the Israel Professional Football League (IPFL) in the presence of the Israeli national supporter organisation (Israfans), the Scottish Football Association (SFA), and the Turkish Football Federation (TFF).
UEFA SLO bilateral meetings
A fairly new concept, SLO bilateral meetings were first introduced in 2014/15. The success and convenience of these gatherings led to four more bilateral meetings in the 2015/16season in Bulgaria, Greece, Belgium and Turkey. That takes the total number of bilateral meetings so far to eleven and the total number of licensing bodies that have organised one to nine.
With the Football Federation of Ukraine producing a localised version of the SLO handbook, the total number of handbook available in languages other than English (UEFA SLO handbook) is now 18. Of them, seven are localised (English/Premier League, Danish, German, Greek, Hungarian, Norwegian, Spanish, Ukrainian) and ten are translations of the UEFA SLO handbook (Bulgarian, Catalan, Croatian, French, Hebrew, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Slovakian, Turkish). SD Europe have also created a public folder with resources related to the SLO (Council of Europe documents, toolkits, presentations, surveys, supporters charters, regulations etc), which you can access here.
The Belgian Pro League has stepped up its efforts to bring the clubs into full compliance with the Article 35, while the Royal Dutch Football Association (KNVB) has evaluated the work on the SLO project and set clear goals for the future, with the first step being the launch of the ‘good hosting’ project..
SD Europe continues to work with stakeholders from outside the football family in developing the SLO project, in particular the police and government ministries but also the Council of Europe. Following the award of observer status on the Council of Europe Standing Committee (see above), SD Europe has taken part in a Council of Europe project visit to Zagreb for talks with the aim developing supporter liaison and dialogue arrangements at Dinamo Zagreb. In May we were also members of a Council of Europe delegation on a consultative visit to Moscow to evaluate the safety, security and service arrangements in place in Russia ahead of the 2018 World Cup.
Our work with the Council of Europe will continue in the new season, with the focus firmly on the new Convention on an Integrated Safety, Security and Service Approach at Football Matches and Other Sports Events.
Another area of the work with non-football stakeholders that is set to grow in importance is our involvement in CEPOL police training events. In April we presented the SLO project to an audience of around 60 senior police officers from around Europe in Paris. With a new resolution of the Council of European Union due to be passed during the new season in the area of police liaison with supporters, the focus on the role of the SLO will intensify.
UEFA invited SD Europe to present on the SLO project at the UEFA Club Licensing and Financial Fair Play workshop in Dubrovnik in September, an event that was also attended by representatives of the other FIFA confederations. We also spoke at the UEFA Stadium and Security Conference in Warsaw in the same month, co-organised with the European Union.
SD Europe and the entire SLO family would like to express our deepest condolences to the family of Erik Reynaerts, SLO Coordinator of the Royal Belgian Football Association, who passed away while in France organising the Belgian fan embassy.
We would like to thank all those who contributed last season to the development of the project. We couldn’t have done it without you and we look forward to an even better, more inclusive and wider 2016/17 !
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 project 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.