Around 50 safety officers and SLOs from clubs in the top two Ukrainian leagues gathered recently for a security seminar in Kyiv organised by the Football Federation of Ukraine (FFU).
The agenda included presentations on the SLO project by Stuart Dykes of SD Europe and Dariusz Lapinski, the SLO coordinator and national team SLO of the Polish Football Association (PZPN). The visit to Ukraine was arranged and coordinated on behalf of the FFU by Igor Gomonai, the SLO coordinator of the Kyiv Football Federation, whose support and assistance has been invaluable in recent years.
UEFA and SD Europe SLO Coordinator, Stuart Dykes
Going into the workshop the main aims were to raise the profile of the SLO role among Ukrainian safety officers and to help SLOs to understand their role better and improve communications between them. Before and after the seminar additional meetings were held with FFU officials to map out a strategy for the development of the SLO work in Ukraine and with representatives and supporters of local clubs Dinamo Kyiv and FK Obolon.
After an introduction by SD Europe on the theory behind the SLO role that also highlighted the opportunities for cooperation between SLOs and safety officers, Dariusz Lapinski followed with an explanation of the philosophy behind the Polish SLO project and an insight into how the PZPN are implementing it in terms of licensing, training, and common standards.
FFU executives and club SLOs and security officers
The ensuing discussion prompted quite a few questions and a lively discussion on the practicalities of establishing the SLO position given the difficulties facing Ukrainian football and the country as a whole at present. Nevertheless, FFU vice-president Igor Kochetov emphasised the importance of the role and the desire of the FFU to push ahead with implementation, issuing a clear instruction to the clubs to ensure they were in compliance with the domestic and UEFA licensing requirements. As part of this effort, an abridged localised version of the UEFA SLO handbook written by Igor Gomonai was launched and distributed to the clubs at the seminar.
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, browse the SD Europe SLO resources, follow the official SLO account on twitter or get directly in touch via email@example.com.