The Belgian Pro League is stepping up its efforts to bring its clubs into full compliance with Article 35 of UEFA’s licensing regulations by launching a new drive to establish and promote the role of the supporter liaison officer across the country.
The initiative is the result of ongoing talks with SD Europe and was fleshed out at a meeting held with representatives of the Pro League and the Belgian Football Association in Brussels recently.
Although Belgian clubs have been required to appoint SLOs under the terms of the UEFA licence since the 2012/13 season, the function has been slow to develop in the Pro League. At many clubs, the role is limited to a name on the licence application. Other clubs are carrying out SLO tasks, albeit spread across several departments with no bundling of the work. Some clubs do have an operating SLO team, KAA Gent being one prominent example, but they remain a minority.
Frequent consultations between the Pro League, the Football Unit at the Ministry of the Interior, and the national supporter organisation Belgian Supporters have resulted in set of SLO recommendations aimed at the Pro League clubs. These recommendations incorporate the comments and suggestions made by the Football Unit and Belgian Supporters while guaranteeing the autonomy of the clubs in making their SLO appointments. They list the skills and attributes expected of SLOs, define standard tasks and outline an example recruitment procedure that recognises the consultative role that can be played by fans. New SLOs are expected to operate as volunteers in the initial period, though this can change if the work proves a success.
An information meeting and inaugural training workshop for club SLOs will be organised by the Pro League with the support of SD Europe in due course.
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 54 member associations. If you would like to learn more, visit the SLO section on the SD Europe website, browse the SD Europe SLO resources, follow the official SLO account on twitter or get directly in touch via firstname.lastname@example.org.