The decision was taken by a relevant FSF-appointed committee and was announced at the 2016 FSF Awards, held in December in London.
Earlier this year, Jonathan represented England at the inaugural European SLO network meeting in Malmo, together with ten of his European colleagues. Jonathan, who is also the Head of Supporter Services at Tottenham, has been the SLO of the club since the requirement was introduced by UEFA in 2012.
The final shortlist consisted of nine SLOs from six clubs; three Premier League clubs, two Championship clubs and one League 2 club. The nominees were: Mark Brindle (Arsenal), Jonathan Waite (Tottenham Hotspur), Dave Messenger (Watford), Rob Coleman & Jackie Evans (Reading), Jason Taylor & Ian Wadsworth (Wigan Athletic), Beverly Dyer & Dave Tomlinson (Crewe Alexandra).
Jonathan Waite: “It’s been very pleasing to see the growth of more and more supporter focused thinking across the league and the SLO role has undoubtedly had an influence in that. We’ve been able to recruit a team of Fan Liaison Officers to work around the stadium and we now take our own liaison staff to all our away matches, including those in Europe. This really helps in understanding and ironing out any issues. The SLOs in the Premier League are provided with great support from Thomas Guthrie and the team and regularly meet to discuss best practice and share common issues“.
According to the league regulations, all Premier League clubs are required to appoint a Supporter Liaison Officer as the main contact point for supporters and their liaison to the club’s board and relevant staff. The Premier League have a dedicated handbook which is regularly updated and the latest 2016/17 version can be found in our SLO resource folder.
Thomas Guthrie, standing SLO Coordinator for the Premier League commented: “The Premier League would like to congratulate all of the nominees. Following successes for Anthony Emmerson (Stoke City) and Chris Waters (Sunderland) Jonathan’s award continues a great run of successive wins for Premier League SLOs.
Jonathan is a great example of how the SLO role can be embedded into a big club structure and become a valuable influence and an agent for positive change. He is at the forefront of researching what other clubs and organisations are doing, both at home and abroad, and is always looking for ways to build best practice and fan feedback into Spurs future plans. His knowledge and interpretation of the football landscape is very impressive, and he has developed good relationships with key fan groups. In particular, his work during the Club’s stadium ongoing redevelopment plans has been highly impressive“.
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 requirement 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.