“We must all commit to embracing the principle of an integrated multi-agency approach and take the steps necessary to demonstrate it in practice – not just for high-profile matches, but as a matter of routine.”
With these words UEFA Executive Committee member and UEFA Stadium and Security Committee vice-chairman František Laurinec greeted more than 300 participants at the 2016/17 UEFA-EU Stadium and Security Conference in Bucharest earlier this month.
Mr Laurinec added: “It is our responsibility to ensure that supporters can enjoy a football event in a safe, secure and welcoming environment. We have been entrusted with that responsibility, and we must act upon it“.
This year’s event focused on the potential safety and security liabilities for football match organisers. SD Europe attended the event at the invitation of UEFA, offering us an excellent opportunity to network, build new relationships with the delegates in attendance and consolidate existing ones, and arrange workshops and meetings as part of our supporter liaison officer work.
Following the opening for signature of the new Council of Europe Convention on an integrated Safety, Security and Service Approach at Football Matches and Other Sports Events in Paris on 3 July, this commitment to an integrated multi-agency approach is a just a priority for UEFA, but also for non-football stakeholders in governments and other political institutions.
SD Europe, as the organisation that facilitates the development and implementation of the supporter liaison officer work on behalf of UEFA and a holder of observer status on the Council of Europe Standing Committee charged with monitoring the application of the aforementioned Convention, is also committed to promoting the principles laid down in the Convention and the related integrated approach, of which dialogue with supporters is a key element.
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“.
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.