SLOs are a vital new role - mandatory for clubs participating in UEFA competitions - which requires a full-time member of staff appointed to work and engage with supporters, acting as a key point of contact.
The creation of an SLO role was the result of detailed talks UEFA and Supporters Direct Europe. This led to the implementation of Article 35 which says those applying for a UEFA license must have a liaison officer.
Benefits of the SLO role have been identified by UEFA as including:
• Improved relationships with fans such as national team supporters’ clubs, national fan organisations, as well as relevant fan groups at club level
• Greater insight into supporter viewpoints
• Financial benefits through increased attendance, higher merchandise sales and improved sponsorship revenue with fans becoming closer to their club
• Reduced violence and better conflict management
Over the next eight months, Supporters Direct Scotland will be working with the Scottish FA to help develop a network of SLOs on a national level and to facilitate the sharing of knowledge and best practice to improve the relationships between various stakeholders, in particular the relationship between supporters and club directors, owners, safety and security organisations.
Activities will include the creation and distribution of a best practice handbook, a development day and communication channels for SLOs to network and share ideas among themselves.
Stewart Regan, Scottish FA Chief Executive: “We are pleased to work in partnership with Supporters Direct Scotland to provide our clubs with support and best practice guidelines in what is an increasingly important role between clubs and their supporters.
“Initially, SDS will provide feedback on the current SLO provision within Scottish football and work towards implementing a consistent strategic framework that will enable supporters and clubs to maximise the benefit of having an SLO.”
Andrew Jenkin, Head of Supporters Direct Scotland, said “We are delighted to be working with the Scottish FA on this project. The SLO role is a hugely important one and one which offers supporters a real opportunity to have a direct point of contact to their club.
“The benefits of the SLO are clear to see through UEFA’s research and this partnership is a real step forward in improving communication among supporters and their clubs.
“Through Supporters Direct Europe’s work across Europe to date, we are able to use the best practice developed across the continent and will only add to that through our work to come in Scotland.”