SD Europe’s SLO coordinator, Stuart Dykes, spoke to the 50 or so delegates in attendance about the SLO work in Sweden set against the European context.
Other presentations were given by representatives of the Stockholm police, two Djurgården SLOs (on behalf of all three alliance clubs), and the City of Stockholm. Delegates also heard about the ticketing policy in place at Hammarby and the ENABLE project, which seeks to identify, share and develop good practice in the management of the safety and security challenges confronting fans attending professional football matches in Sweden.
The Stockholm police have focused on a dialogue-based approach to policing football matches in recent years, and SLOs play a key mediation and communication role in this process. “The SLO project is extremely important. We mustn’t underestimate its value,” said Mikael Berkesand, senior officer with overall responsibility for football policing in Stockholm.
Sweden has thrown up a number of good practice examples since the SLO project was launched at the start of the 2012 season. The Swedish Football Association and the league association Swedish Elite Football have worked together well in establishing the function of the SLO, organising regular meetings and workshops and making full use of the resources provided by UEFA and SD Europe. The SLOs also meet regularly to exchange experience and learn from each other by job shadowing, for example. This collaboration led to the formation of an independent SLO steering committee with nine elected spokespersons.
A crucial moment for the development of the SLO project in Sweden was the launch of the Stand Up for Football project, in which several leading companies have contributed over €1m in sponsorship to fund full-time SLOs at six clubs since 2012. Overall, the SLO project has met with a positive reception from all the main stakeholders, from clubs and fans to the police and the government. Against a background of rising attendances and increased public interest in the domestic game, the SLO project is set to go from strength from strength.
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, follow the official SLO account on twitter or get directly in touch via firstname.lastname@example.org.