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Nov 17, 2016

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SLO work in the Balkans focus of major European conference

Council of Europe and EU organise ProS4 Balkan Conference on an Integrated Safety, Security and Service Approach at Football in Bucharest

The Council of Europe and the European Union, in co-operation with the Romanian Gendarmerie, brought policymakers and practitioners from 12 countries to Bucharest in mid-October to promote the new Council of Europe Convention on an Integrated Safety, Security and Service Approach at Football Matches and Other Sports Events and encourage them to translate best practice into their national legislation.

The conference was part of a joint CoE/EU project that also aims to provide a factual and analytical overview of safety and security challenges at football matches and other sports events in Europe. It was attended by government, police and football association representatives from 12 countries (Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, FYROM, Greece, Hungary, Moldova, Montenegro, Romania, Serbia and Slovenia), representatives of SD Europe and FSE, and the supporter liaison officer (SLO) of leading Slovenian club NK Maribor.

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img_7396SD Europe were asked to present on the role Supporter Liaison Officers play in preventing misunderstandings, breaking down barriers and ultimately improving the matchday experience for all stakeholders involved in its organisation. The current situation of the SLO work in the countries represented at the conference was outlined, together with the immediate steps to intensify this work.

Mitja Berden, NK Maribor SLO, explained his work with the various stakeholders (club safety officer, home and away supporters, police, travel agencies, etc.) during the week and on matchday. “Ninety-nine per cent of my work is actually done during the week. A good match for me is when I have nothing to do between the opening and the final whistle.

The Council of Europe Convention on an Integrated Safety, Security and Service Approach at Football Matches and Other Sports Events was opened for signature on 3 July 2016 at a ceremony held at the Stade de France in Paris during EURO 2016. This new Convention represents a major step forward in international cooperation on tackling sports-related violence as a phenomenon that can impact heavily on the safety and security of European citizens.

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 slo@sdeurope.eu.

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