TPDS: Towards the Professional Development of Supporter Liaison Officers (SLOs)

2023 – 2026

Funded under: Erasmus+ Sport Programme
Duration: 3 years (from 1st June 2023 to 31st May 2026)
Project Coordinator: Football Supporters Europe (FSE)

Developing the SLO role in Europe and beyond

Towards the Professional Development of Supporter Liaison Officers (TPDS) is a transnational project to change the ways in which Supporter Liaison Officers (SLOs) in football are trained. SLOs have a key preventive role to play in tackling spectator-related disorder in Football by facilitating, managing and quality assuring dialogue between clubs, supporters and other stakeholders such as the national associations, leagues and the police, and contributing to effective matchday operations. Against this background, increasing demands are being placed on SLOs in the fulfilment of their liaison role by a host of stakeholders, all with different needs, wants and expectations. Negotiating these different aspirations to the satisfaction of all, often at a moment’s notice, is an extremely difficult task and one which requires an adequate level of training to equip SLOs with the knowledge, expertise and skills they need to do the job.

Unfortunately, very few national football associations and leagues are offering club SLOs advanced training at present. A large number of SLOs across Europe receive only a very basic level of instruction regarding their role, and many receive no training at all. Learning by doing is the name of the game. The situation is exacerbated by the fact that SLOs often do not carry out the function in a full-time role. Many are volunteers and, given the lack of support and recognition, the churn rate is high. Pioneering novel educational tracks for this profession, setting and testing occupational standards and ensuring long-lasting programming in higher education, will make football the world’s largest sport, ready to play its role in creating value driven, safe and healthy societies.

The project aims to create new learning pathways for SLOs in Europe, with a view to also initiate this work worldwide. This collaborative partnership is a first attempt to create credible educational pathways for the SLO profession in Europe in higher education, to connect expertise in the field with practitioners and education, to define occupational standards, and to constitute a milestone in the quest to ensure football is a safe and welcoming experience for all in the future.

To achieve this aim, the project focuses on the following specific objectives:

  • Assess the needs of clubs and organisations in order to co-design use cases adapted to different countries and define the roadmap for implementation on the South American continent with the backing of good practice from Germany
  • Define occupational standards relating to SLOs in Europe and contribute to the toolkit that will foster their employability
  • Finalise, deliver and test three use cases (piloting teaching modules) tailored with participants in three European Countries (France, Poland, Sweden)
  • Disseminate, present, and assess with external stakeholders/organisations use cases in order to produce refined toolkit and recommendations for employability of SLOs in Europe and the definition of a roadmap for the South American continent
  • Effectively produce project outcomes, reach stakeholders and ensure sustainability beyond the duration of the project across Europe and beyond.

    EOSE role as Partner:

    • Lead the development of Occupational Standards for Supporter Liaison Officers (SLOs)
    • Contribute to the development of learning content and training courses
    • Attend all partner meetings
    • Support activities of dissemination and promotion