The impressive Parc Olympique Lyonnais was the venue for the latest security seminar organised by the French Professional Football League in early October.
The Lyon seminar was attended by safety officers of clubs in the top two tiers of French football and SD Europe was invited to explain the benefits of the supporter liaison officer (SLO) role for them in their day-to-day work. After outlining how safety officers and SLOs can work together in practice, the presentation focused on recommendations made by the Council of Europe as part of an integrated approach to safety, security and service at football matches and other sports events, before finishing with a look at how all this works in practice at German Bundesliga club Werder Bremen.
Overall French football has been hesitant to implement Article 35 of the UEFA Club Licensing and Financial Fair Play Regulations (“Supporter Liaison Officer”). Many clubs were content to have the role performed by the safety officers, which falls some way short of what UEFA intended on introducing Article 35 at the start of the 2012-13 season.
This rather unconventional approach resulted in the French government enacting a new sports law on 10 May this year, known as the Larrivé Act, that goes far beyond the UEFA regulation in that it requires clubs in the leading five sports (football, rugby, basketball, handball and volleyball) to appoint SLOs to manage the relations with their supporters.
“The Larrivé Act is a good resolution that we must now implement,” said Didier Quillot, the new director general of the LFP, in a recent media interview. The LFP has assumed responsibility for implementing the SLO requirement from the French Football Federation (FFF), and it was in this capacity that it launched its training programme at the Lyon security seminar.
Going by the discussion at the seminar there is still a lot to do to raise awareness among the main football and non-football stakeholders about the work of the SLO. A start has been made, though, and SD Europe will continue to work very closely alongside the LFP in organising its training, development and monitoring activities, as well as the French national supporters’ organisation Association Nationale des Supporters (ANS).
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.