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Scotland National Senior Sides Should Have SLOs

Date: 14th December 2021

The Supporters Liaison Officer (SLO) role at many of our clubs in Scotland is an extremely important one. 

It acts as the bridge between the fans in the stands and club staff. Any grievances and queries can get directed to an SLO and they’ll be the ones that can get the answers and relay them back to those in the terraces or on social media. 

An SLO is usually trusted by the support as they are clearly a fan themselves. So when important information comes from an SLO, fans will generally take notice. The role of the SLO has become even more important in the last year and a half, when you consider the ever evolving rules regarding Covid. 

It has often bewildered me that our men’s and women’s senior national teams don’t have one or more SLOs to help pass on required news or communicate grievances with The SFA. 

SLOs at a national team level are a relatively new phenomenon, and have been pioneered by the Scandinavian countries – Denmark, Norway and Sweden all introduced national team SLOs in the run-up to Euro 2020.

The Danish Football Association employs a full-time SLO, whereas in both Norway and Sweden club SLOs make up an SLO team that shares the role for international matches.

Despite these different approaches, all three countries have found that national team SLOs help to improve relationships with a diverse fanbase and also look after the needs of visiting supporters, creating a positive matchday experience for all. They also provide vital support to fans when travelling to away games, working closely with the SLOs from the host nation. You can read more about the Scandinavian countries’ approach in the new UEFA SLO handbook

The SFA have done some great things in recent times. They’ve grasped the feel good factor that both our senior sides have provided and in turn made some excellent social media content which has delighted the Tartan Army support. They have also been extremely fair with regards the pricing of tickets and that has been rewarded with bumper crowds inside Hampden. 

By bringing the SLO scheme into the international stage in Scotland, I feel The SFA could only further enrich the bond that they’ve started to rekindle with the Tartan Army. To give the fans a focal point to make suggestions, go to with problems and hear important information from will build more trust in the organisation as a whole. It will also show that the fans really are at the forefront of the game here in Scotland! 

UEFA are right behind this role, working with fan organisations to make sure it’s as effective as it can be, and have developed a training programme that it offers to national associations.

Learning from the Scandinavians, the Scotland national sides already have two different options to work from. They could train a few people that are established Tartan Army foot-soldiers to do the role or they could rotate interested club SLOs to do it on a part-time basis. 

As a nation, we want our football to be more inclusive and safe. I can’t think of a better way to make that happen regarding our national teams than by appointing some SLOs to be the first port of call for fans who want to raise legitimate issues or who need guidance regarding traveling whether it be in Scotland or abroad. 

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