The Czech Football League (LFA), who recently assumed responsibility for the SLO work from the Football Association of the Czech Republic (FACR), organised the first SLO workshop for Czech clubs in Prague on 20 July. Around 20 representatives from 12 first and second division clubs, including supporters, attended the event at the headquarters of the FACR.
Before the workshop started, LFA media officer Daniel Hajný explained the importance attached by the LFA to the SLO role, saying: “As a League football association, we feel that we need to work better and more intensively with the fan community. That is why the SLO is a meaningful tool for us to do this.” He then handed over to SLO coordinator Tomáš Čarnogurský, who began his remarks by presenting the new Czech SLO handbook to the clubs in attendance. This handbook will play an important role in raising awareness of the work done by SLOs and promoting common standards.
In his presentation SD Europe’s Stuart Dykes focused on the standard definition of the SLO role and the potential benefits on offer to the clubs, citing examples of good practice from countries such as Germany and Sweden. He also explained the important role SLOs can play in helping to prevent the occurrence of spectator-related disorder, in particular in light of the new Council of Europe Convention on an Integrated Safety, Security and Service Approach at Football Matches and Other Sports Events. “It’s great that the highest Czech league is devoting attention to the topic of fans,” Stuart said. “The SLO work is an important tool for listening to matchgoing fans. In many countries the introduction of this position has significantly improved the quality of communications between clubs and fans. We are ready to support the Czech league.”
Tomáš Čarnogurský then gave a comprehensive overview of the role of the SLO in practice, concentrating on recruitment and organisational matters, day-to- day-tasks and interaction with other stakeholders, and communication tools. The meeting finished with a look at the LFA’s plans for the development of the work in the season ahead and the role of the LFA and the LFA’s SLO coordinator.
The following day Tomáš Čarnogurský was given the opportunity to explain the SLO role on behalf of SD Europe to a workshop attended by safety officers from clubs in the first and second divisions of the Czech League.
Additional meetings were held with police lieutenant colonel Jakub Schor, the Head of the Czech National Football Information Point (NFIP), Dino Numerato, Assistant Professor and Head of Department of Sociology at the Faculty of Social Sciences, Charles University in Prague, Svatoslav Baťa, Head of PR, SLO and member of the supporters trust at Bohemians 19005, and Leo van der Vliet, match organiser at Dutch club Vitesse Arnhem, who were in the city for a friendly against Sparta Prague.
The LFA report on the workshop can be read here.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.