At the end of September, the SD Europe SLO team was invited by the Polish Football Association (PZPN) to Wrocław for the seventh exchange visit of our supporter liaison and engagement project LIAISE, which is funded by the European Union’s Erasmus+ programme and UEFA.
The delegation was hosted by officials of the PZPN and included representatives from the Swedish Football League (SEF), the Swedish Football Supporters Union (SFSU), club SLOs from Örgryte IS in Sweden and Bohemians 1905 from Czechia. David Bohannan, Chairman of the European Think Tank of Football Safety and Security Experts was also in attendance in the role of external expert and chief project consultant.
The visit started with an introduction to the SLO work in Poland and the fan project programme Kibice Razem, which is co-funded by the Ministry of Sport and Tourism. This was followed by a meeting with the Federation of Disabled Fans.
🏟️The #LIAISE exchange visit in Wroclaw at @slaskwroclawpl is underway. #Fanliaison @SDEurope07 with @lenagw @Bark99Kurka @SEF_Elitfotboll @SFSU__ organized by the @pzpn_pl pic.twitter.com/SvbO907sDH — SLO news (@SuppLiaison) September 21, 2019
The main focus of the visit was to showcase the work of local SLOs by providing the delegation with insights into the matchday operations at the Śląsk Wrocław stadium for the game between Śląsk and Zagłębie Lubin.
After a tour of the stadium and its facilities, the delegation followed the procedures for match organisation, from the pre-match meeting between the match delegate, the club safety officers, SLOs, the police, the stewards manager, the fire brigade and the emergency medical services to the opening of the stadium for the fans. The delegation had the opportunity to observe the arrival and admission of both sets of fans and the work of the stewards, police, SLOs, and safety officers of both clubs.
The visit continued with the observation of the work done by the SLOs and safety officers during the match and ended with the post-match debrief by the safety officers, SLOs and other club officials. The entire visit was an excellent opportunity to exchange knowledge regarding security-related issues, stadium infrastructure, relationships with the club supporters, and SLO work.
Learn more about #LIAISE https://t.co/krZ03ymQjq @SDEurope07 @lenagw @Bark99Kurka @SEF_Elitfotboll @UEFA @EuSport @FredrikLarssonn @sjubludh #Fanliaison pic.twitter.com/OZCflzpW5Q — SLO news (@SuppLiaison) September 21, 2019
Commenting on the visit, Lena Gustafson-Wiberg, SD Europe’s head of SLO training and lead SLO at Swedish club Djurgårdens IF, said: “This was a very well organised visit and our thanks go out to the Polish Football Association and everyone we met during our time in Wrocław. It was really interesting to observe the matchday operations and procedures and the interaction between the SLOs and the other stakeholders. There are many similarities between Poland and Sweden. If it weren’t for the language barrier, I’m sure Swedish SLOs would be able to slot in quite easily in Poland.”
LIAISE is a unique two-year collaborative partnership that brings together supporters (SD Europe, FSE, ANS, SFSU), football associations (Bulgaria, France, Ireland, Poland, Portugal), football leagues (Czech Republic, France, Sweden) and stakeholders including UEFA and the European Think Tank of Football Safety and Security Experts for the first time. LIAISE kicked off in January 2018 and will run for two years until December 2019.