As the positive impact of Supporter Liaison Officers (SLO) continues to be felt across European football, UEFA (Union of European Football Associations), ECA (European Club Association) and FSE (Football Supporters Europe) organised a workshop this week dedicated entirely to the SLO role and its importance at UEFA Club Competition (UCC) matches.
The workshop held on 18-19 January 2024 at UEFA’s headquarter welcomed SLOs representing clubs competing in all three European club competitions during 2023/24 season. It aimed to provide key insights and facilitate knowledge-sharing sessions to improve the experience in and around stadiums on match days.
The event kicked-off with welcome speeches by key figures, including Giorgio Marchetti (UEFA Deputy General Secretary), Charlie Marshall (ECA CEO), and Ronan Evain (FSE Executive Director).
The first session began by highlighting the essential aspects of the SLO role and the importance of their responsibilities before and during matches. Discussions were focused on preparatory work ahead of UCC matches and existing tools for information sharing. In addition, participants were presented with updates on supporter related initiatives and projects.
The following day provided an opportunity to discuss key matchday roles and review a matchday planning timeline. A compelling case study and Q&A session gave participants an insight into the collaborative dynamics between SLOs, security officers and the police, which is vital to ensuring the safety and security of all spectators.
The workshop highlighted the importance of investment in the developing role of SLOs, and the training and promotion of networking opportunities which improve the football stadium experience.
The collaborative effort between UEFA, ECA and FSE represents a significant step forward in recognising the crucial role played by SLOs in enhancing the overall football experience while ensuring that it respects the UEFA licensing requirements and continues to have a positive impact on European football.
Giorgio Marchetti, UEFA deputy general secretary, said: "The heartbeat of European football lies in the unwavering passion of its supporters. UEFA is committed to continuing to develop and champion the pivotal role Supporter Liaison Officers play in match preparations and in bridging the gap between clubs and fans. Today’s workshop is jointly hosted by UEFA, the European Club Association and Football Supporters Europe which illustrates the joint commitment and unity from key stakeholders to ensure fans, clubs and UEFA are working together to significantly improve matchday experiences for all fans during our competitions."
Ronan Evain, FSE Executive Director, added: “We are pleased with the success of our collaboration with UEFA and ECA to bring the event to fruition. It has been a long road to ingrain the significance of SLOs into the European game, but having the supporters, clubs and UEFA working together on this workshop demonstrates the progress we have made.”
Charlie Marshall, ECA CEO, concluded: "SLOs are a vital part of football who steward that most important relationship between clubs and their fans. ECA’s commitment is to empower clubs through renewed joint efforts with our members and our key stakeholders UEFA and FSE. Our collective aim remains to foster collaboration, share best practices and to significantly improve the matchday experience for all fans of the game."