At a separate meeting, Dariusz Lapinski analysed his role in the training and development of club SLOs. Poland is one of the busiest and highest-ranked countries as far as the SLO project is concerned. “We organize frequent SLO meetings where the SLOs can talk about their successful input at their clubs, analyse their problems and share best practices. These training sessions are very helpful but are not enough. My job as SLO coordinator is to visit the SLOs and accompany them during the week or on matchday. I also try to explain to all the different stakeholders, not just the clubs, how important SLOs are for improving the football experience. The SLO work in the field has been very positive and has progressed a lot since 2012. The input of SD Europe has been of great assistance and the future of the SLO project lies in the meetings between SLOs from different countries and the creation of a bigger network that every SLO can refer to and seek additional information“.
Dariusz also runs socio-preventative “fan projects” in Poland in conjunction with PZPN and the Polish Ministry of Sport. These projects work closely with supporters, promoting self-regulation by helping them to understand their rights and obligations and bringing supporters and other football stakeholders closer together by breaking down cultural barriers, removing prejudice and building new relationships on a clearer and healthier ground. Today there are nine fan projects in Poland, and this number is expected to grow to 20 by the end of 2018.
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 and officially introduced in 2012/13, since when it has been co-managed by UEFA and SD Europe in all 54 member countries. If you would like to learn more, check the SLO section on the SD Europe website, read the FAQ or get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
On the occasion of the Europa League final, UEFA and Supporters Direct (SD) Europe SLO consultant Stuart Dykes together with the SLOs of Djurgårdens IF, Lena Gustafson Wiberg, and Brøndby IF, Lasse Bauer, met with the SLO coordinator of the Polish Football Asscociation (PZPN), Dariusz Lapinski, and the SLO of Legia Warsaw Mateusz Szymański. The meeting was arranged to discuss issues of common interest, such as differences and similarities in the way the SLO project is implemented in the three countries and around Europe, the particular difficulties SLOs are facing in Poland, and areas where the involvement of SLOs should be facilitated and their presence encouraged. Those in attendance agreed to stay in touch and exchange knowledge and experience.