SD Europe and UEFA SLO project Coordinator Stuart Dykes, attended the workshop held by the Hungarian Olympic Association.
In the last week of September the Hungarian Olympic Association organised a workshop on the subject of dialogue with supporters. At the workshop, which was led by the Hungarian Football Association (MLSZ) and attended by the national associations of basketball, ice hockey, handball and water polo (approx. 50 delegates in total), SD Europe SLO consultant and UEFA SLO project coordinator Stuart Dykes gave a presentation on the supporter liaison officer project, which was then debated by the participants. The meeting also heard contributions from our partners at Football Supporters Europe (FSE) and Football Against Racism in Europe (FARE).
In the discussions security was highlighted as the main problem with regard to supporter relations. Since the 2014/15 season supporters are required to have a “fan card” in order to purchase a match ticket and attend a match, meaning that spontaneous visitors are not able to buy tickets on the day. In addition, supporters entering the new Ferencváros stadium are required to check in via a hand scanner under newly imposed, stricter security measures.
István Samu, head of security at the MLSZ, reiterated his support for the SLO project during the workshop and said the MLSZ were committed to implementing it with more rigour. In addition, Péter Kovács, deputy security officer at the MLSZ, described the SLO project as “a genuine opportunity to improve relations with supporters and, by extension, the matchday experience“. The MLSZ has produced and offers to clubs and supporters a localised, translated version of the SLO handbook, as well as a translation of the Council of Europe recommendation on supporters charters.
On the other hand, meetings held with supporter groups clearly showed that discussions between authorities, institutions and fans are still at a primary level and can be further improved, although both sides seem open for dialogue and willing to engage with each other as part of the SLO project.
In Hungary, the SLO licensing requirement covers all teams in the top two tiers (32 teams in 2014/15 season) but 50 clubs are reported to have an SLO altogether.