Swedish Supporter Liaison Officers in Action

Erik Madsen
Dept. of Criminology, Malmö University
Sammyh Khan, Neil Williams
School of Psychology, Keele University, UK
Jonas Havelund
Dept. of Sports Science and Clinical Biomechanics,
University of Southern Denmark

The Supporter Liaison Officer (SLO) role became incorporated into the UEFA licensing system from the 2012/13 season (UEFA 2012). The introduction of article 35 into the UEFA Club Licensing and Financial Fair Play Regulations demanded that clubs across Europe have an appointed SLO to ensure the flow of dialogue between clubs, supporters, and other stakeholders. This interview study focusses on how the SLOs themselves perceive their role, its challenges and its adaptation in the Swedish national context. The article documents how SLOs use their position to make the voice of the supporters heard by the club and police. They work to resolve issues and prevent conflicts which hold the potential to develop into arrests and the criminalisation of supporters. Despite emphasising their role of being a spokesman for the supporter community, the aim for the SLO is to be seen as a credible and trustworthy mediator between the stakeholders who often have conflicting goals. This is achieved by working to a particular code of ethical conduct that allows them to operate with high levels of discretion amongst supporters, while also maintaining an effective working relationship with the club and the police.

Download the full-text article here!

ERIK MADSEN is currently working as research assistant in the Department of Criminology at Malmö University, Sweden. He has a bachelor’s degree in Psychology and a master’s degree in Leadership and Organization. Erik wrote his master thesis on the subject of the prerequisites for collaboration between clubs, supporters and Police surrounding the events of Swedish elite football.

SAMMYH KHAN PhD, is a lecturer in social psychology at Keele University, UK. His research interests lie in the intersections of social, cultural, political, and health psychology. To date his research has had two main areas of focus, involving the application of social-identity and self-categorisation processes to: a) examine group processes and intergroup relations; and b) understand and promote health behaviours and outcomes.

NEIL WILLIAMS is a Doctoral Candidate in the School of Psychology at Keele University, UK. His PhD thesis concentrates on the intergroup and intragroup dynamics of football crowds in Sweden and how a human rights oriented approach to crowd management can reduce intergroup hostility and conflict.

JONAS HAVEUND is a part time researcher working at Department of Sports Science and Clinical Biomechanics at University of Southern Denmark. His research interests lie in the interaction between football supporters and police. He has cooperated with football supporters, clubs and police institutions for more than ten years.

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