Following the news that current Supporter Liaison Officer David Lloyd is to stand down at the end of the season, the board of Bristol City Supporters Club & Trust calls on the Football Club to see David’s decision as an opportunity to take a fresh look at the supporter liaison role, to work with us to define precisely what it should entail going forward and to seek applications for this important position from among the fan base.
“It is a Football League requirement that all clubs have a Supporter Liaison Officer and while the League itself does not specify in any detail what that person should actually do, UEFA have issued best practice guidelines, which we would like to see City follow,” said Club & Trust board member Jon Darch. “The SLO should ideally come from within the active fan base and be in constant dialogue with fans on the issues that concern them not only through supporter group meetings, social media, correspondence and face-to-face discussions between matches, but also by mingling with fans and being available as a point of contact before, during and after games both at Ashton Gate and away from home. David’s other duties as tannoy announcer and matchday hospitality host have unfortunately made it impossible for him to fulfil that latter part of the role.”
The concept of a Supporter Liaison Officer was born in European football, primarily in the German Bundesliga, where some clubs employ three or four fans in this role to represent supporters’ interests to club management, safety authorities and the police. It has been a requirement for clubs in England and Wales to have an SLO since the start of the 2012/13 season.
“Our understanding is that many of the best SLOs around the UK and abroad have a background in the active fan scene. They experience interaction with the club from the outside looking in, like any other fan, not from the inside looking out, like members of club management staff. Only by having such a background are they able to understand fully the concerns and issues of the ordinary fan and to convey these from a supporter’s perspective to the club’s executives,” explains Club & Trust chair Stu Rogers. “While we like to think that we at the Supporters Club & Trust do our best to represent fans on many issues, we are a group of volunteers and there are only so many hours in each day that we can devote to ensuring supporters’ interests are looked after properly. A Supporter Liaison Officer employed by the Football Club and fulfilling as far as possible the job specification set out by UEFA would supplement our own efforts and guarantee that the interests of supporters are at all times fully represented within the corridors and meeting rooms of Bristol City Football Club.”
The Club & Trust has taken the UEFA best practice guidelines for a Supporter Liaison Officer and drawn up an example job specification for the role at Bristol City. We urge the Club to review this, to work with us to refine it further and to seek applications from fans keen and able to take on this demanding role from season 2015/16 onwards.
More information on the role of the SLO can be found here on the Football Supporters Federation website and here on the Supporters Direct website.
Via this link you can read the full UEFA Supporter Liaison Officer Handbook.