The last week of October saw the Federazione Italiana Giuoco Calcio (FIGC) organise a round table on the establishment and improvement of the dialogue between the FIGC and supporters. Fiona May, coordinator of the working group for fan dialogue, hosted SD Europe (represented by Stuart Dykes, SD Europe and UEFA SLO project Coordinator), our partners at Football Supporters Europe and a representative of Supporters in Campo (the Italian umbrella organisation for democratic supporters’ trusts).
The meeting was held at a level of mutual understanding and identified some key activities the FIGC and Italian supporters could jointly develop. The development of the Supporter Liaison Officer in Italy was one of the items that dominated the agenda; the FIGC reiterated their support for the project and expressed their desire to proceed into full implementation (meetings with every club, development of a monitoring and reporting scheme, drafting of a localised SLO handbook, presence of SLOs at security meetings etc), in cooperation with Supporters in Campo. Other topics of discussion included the representation of supporters at all levels through supporters’ trusts and their importance for the improvement of governance at club and national level, stadium regulations, fan embassies and the role of supporters in the fight against racism in football.
Fiona May commented on the event “There’s much to be done in the direction of bridging the gap with the European countries and countering infiltrating criminal phenomena and hooligans”.
This meeting was the fourth in six months, showing that Italy is taking steady steps towards the understanding and implementation of the SLO project, as well as the development of a structured dialogue with supporters and the promotion of the social role of football. In May, the FIGC organised the first SLO workshop with SLOs from four different European clubs. In July, Serie B (through the league’s marketing director and SLO coordinator Federico Smanio) presented the SLO project to the clubs while the FIGC restated their commitment to the project. September saw all stakeholders of Italian and European football, including SD Europe and Supporters in Campo, coming together at the UEFA Respect Diversity Conference in Rome.
SD Europe and Supporters in Campo will continue to work closely with the governing bodies in Italian football in the future, advising them on alternatives of positive engagement with supporters and providing the necessary tools for the development of a tailored SLO action plan for the coming season and beyond.