The Council of Europe Convention on an Integrated Safety, Security and Service Approach at Football Matches and Other Sports Events was signed by 14 states at a ceremony held at the Stade de France on Sunday 3 July.
The 14 signatory states are Bulgaria, France, FYR Macedonia, Georgia, Greece, Lithuania, Moldova, Monaco, Montenegro, Netherlands, Portugal, Russia, Switzerland and Ukraine. The Convention will enter into force on ratification by three signatory states.
“It’s an opportune moment, with preparations under way for the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia, and UEFA EURO 2020, which will be held in 13 countries around Europe,” said Council of Europe secretary general Thorbjørn Jagland.
Emphasising the importance of dialogue under the terms of the new convention, Thierry Braillard, France’s state secretary for sport, said: “The Convention we are signing today sends out a strong signal of our commitment to preventing and combating violence in the stadiums by placing the dialogue between the different actors, and the relationship between the public authorities and the fans, at the centre of the organisation of major international sporting events.”
Michael van Praag, UEFA Executive Committee member and chairman of the UEFA Stadium and Security Committee, added: “UEFA is very pleased that the Council of Europe and European states take the security and safety of all participants in sports events very seriously and we are looking forward to continuously working closely with all stakeholders to ensure peaceful and safe football matches across the continent.”
The purpose of the Convention is to ensure that football and other sports events provide a safe, secure and welcoming environment for all individuals through the implementation of an integrated approach on safety, security and service at sports events by a plurality of actors working in a partnership amid an ethos of co-operation. To guarantee a welcoming atmosphere inside and outside stadiums, the Convention commits signatory states to:
encourage public agencies and private stakeholders (local authorities, police, football clubs and national federations, and supporters) to work together in the preparation and running of football matches;
ensure that stadium infrastructure complies with national and international standards and regulations, for effective crowd management and safety; emergency and contingency plans must be drawn up, tested and refined in the course of regular joint exercises;
ensure that spectators feel welcome and well-treated throughout events, including by making stadiums more accessible to children, the elderly and people with disabilities and improving sanitary and refreshment facilities.
The Convention is an overdue update of the existing convention on spectator violence, which was drafted in response to the Heysel disaster in May 1985 in Brussels. It recognises the importance of engaging with supporters and local communities and acknowledges fans as major stakeholders within the game.
Through its work with the Council of Europe, SD Europe is committed to promoting the provisions of the new convention as part of its efforts to raise awareness of the benefits of supporter liaison in violence prevention, service provision and enhancement of the matchday experience for all stakeholders.
The convention text, the explanatory report and related information can be found 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 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 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.