The Football League, the governing body that oversees the Championship, League One and League Two competitions for clubs in England and Wales, hosted their latest SLO training workshop at Birmingham City Football Club on 11 November. The workshop was attended by some 40 of the 72 clubs falling under the Football League’s jurisdiction. SD Europe and UEFA SLO project Coordinator Stuart Dykes was invited to present on the theory behind the SLO role along with the SLO of Swedish club AIK, Tobias Larsson, who explained how the theory is put into practice at AIK.
The SLO work at Football League level has undergone some transformation in recent times, with around one-third of the 72 clubs changing their SLO since July 2013. Andy Pomfret, SLO coordinator at the Football League, highlighted the progress made but also focused on some of the difficulties involved in establishing the role in a league made up clubs of vastly different sizes and with a wide geographical spread. Thirty-eight clubs, for example, have still to post their SLO contact details on their website, while 81% of supporters are unaware of who their SLO is and what he or she does. All 72 clubs have appointed an SLO, however, and 16 of them have at least two.
In inviting SD Europe and a Swedish SLO to speak at the workshop, the Football League underlined their desire to develop the role of the SLO and learn from examples at clubs across the continent. The general consensus from delegates was that they enjoyed the day and took a lot from it, and the Football League intends to feed many of the suggestions from attendees into their de-brief and ongoing discussion regarding the future SLO work. SD Europe, working in conjunction with the Football Supporters Federation, who were also represented at the meeting, will continue to offer assistance to the Football League in the development of this important role.