The Scottish FA and Supporters Direct Scotland have signed a partnership agreement that focuses in the promotion and implementation of the SLO project.
Their joint announcement:
Supporters Direct Scotland are delighted to announce that they will be working in partnership with the Scottish FA to deliver a development programme for Supporter Liaison Officers (SLO) in Scotland.
SLOs are a vital new role – mandatory for clubs participating in UEFA competitions – which requires a full-time member of staff appointed to work and engage with supporters, acting as a key point of contact.
The creation of an SLO role was the result of detailed talks UEFA and SD Europe. This led to the implementation of Article 35 which says those applying for a UEFA license must have a liaison officer.
Benefits of the SLO role have been identified by UEFA as including:
Improved relationships with fans such as national team supporters’ clubs, national fan organisations, as well as relevant fan groups at club level
Greater insight into supporter viewpoints
Financial benefits through increased attendance, higher merchandise sales and improved sponsorship revenue with fans becoming closer to their club
Reduced violence and better conflict management
Over the next eight months, Supporters Direct Scotland will be working with the Scottish FA to help develop a network of SLOs on a national level and to facilitate the sharing of knowledge and best practice to improve the relationships between various stakeholders, in particular the relationship between supporters and club directors, owners, safety and security organisations.
Activities will include the creation and distribution of a best practice handbook, a development day and communication channels for SLOs to network and share ideas among themselves.
Stewart Regan, Scottish FA Chief Executive: “We are pleased to work in partnership with Supporters Direct Scotland to provide our clubs with support and best practice guidelines in what is an increasingly important role between clubs and their supporters.
“Initially, SDS will provide feedback on the current SLO provision within Scottish football and work towards implementing a consistent strategic framework that will enable supporters and clubs to maximise the benefit of having an SLO.”
Andrew Jenkin, Head of Supporters Direct Scotland, said “We are delighted to be working with the Scottish FA on this project. The SLO role is a hugely important one and one which offers supporters a real opportunity to have a direct point of contact to their club.
“The benefits of the SLO are clear to see through UEFA’s research and this partnership is a real step forward in improving communication among supporters and their clubs.
“Through SD Europe’s work across Europe to date, we are able to use the best practice developed across the continent and will only add to that through our work to come in Scotland.”
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 54 member associations. If you would like to learn more, visit the SLO section on the SD Europe website, browse the SD Europe SLO resources, follow the official SLO account on twitter or get directly in touch via firstname.lastname@example.org.