In May 2024, Football Supporters Europe (FSE) headed to Gdańsk University, Poland, for the second in-person meeting of the SLO (Supporter Liaison Officer) development project Towards the Professional Development of SLOs (TPDS) alongside its partners.  

TPDS aims both to help clubs and national associations hire the right people and existing SLOs to fulfil their potential. In parallel, working with four leading universities from across Europe, the project aims to establish pathways for individuals to learn and become experts in supporter liaison through a series of higher education degrees.   

FSE was joined at the two-day meeting (13-14 May) by representatives from Malmö University, Kassel University, the University of Limoges, the European Observatoire of Sport and Employment (EOSE), and CONMEBOL (Confederación Sudamericana de Fútbol).  

The meeting focused on the progress of the academic course being created specifically for SLOs by the partner universities of the project. Over the two days, all project partners took part in presentations, workshops, and lively discussions surrounding this purpose. 

Prior to the meeting, all partner universities had held national workshops to assist development of the modules for the academic courses they are assembling. 

The meeting also featured updates from CONMEBOL and EOSE. Ricardo Leao, the CBF’s (Confederación Brasileña de Fútbol) Head of Football Development, representing COMNEBOL, provided a snapshot of the confederation’s roadmap to introducing the SLO role in South America. Meanwhile, EOSE’s Director of Skills Development Geoff Carroll, gave an update on his work to lead the implementation of occupational standards for the SLO role.  

Following the meeting, FSE’s SLO Development Officer Tony Ernst said: “The meeting at Gdańsk University showed that all the universities are well on their way to creating well-considered and informed modules for the university courses. The two days featured productive discussions that will help the universities to ensure the degrees are tailored to the needs of SLOs working in the demands of the modern football landscape.  

“FSE and the other European partners were enthusiastic to once again be joined by our colleagues from COMNEBOL. Their participation and contributions show they are serious about implementing the SLO role in South America. It’s encouraging that this project can offer guidance and support to them on their journey.” 

The next steps for the project will see the universities continue their work to create and develop the academic courses for SLOs and other football stakeholders. In November

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