Supporters are the lifeblood of professional football – they are the identity of the clubs. Owners, coaches and players change, but supporters always remain.
UEFA is committed to ensuring that the needs and viewpoints of supporters are taken into account in European football governance. Football Supporters Europe (FSE), an independent, representative and democratically organised European association of football supporters, was launched with UEFA's backing in 2009. UEFA recognises FSE as the official interlocutor on fans' issues and as one of its key stakeholders.
UEFA has engaged in a continuous dialogue with FSE on various matters as well as in support of the following particular initiatives and projects relating to fans' involvement:
• Annual meetings between FSE and relevant representatives from UEFA
• A seminar on fan hosting called Football, Host Cities and Respect
• The European Football Fans' Congress of FSE in 2008 (London), 2009 (Hamburg) 2010 (Barcelona), 2011 (Brondby and Copenhagen), 2012 (Istanbul), 2013 (Amsterdam), 2014 (Bosco Albergati, Italy) and 2015 (Belfast)
• Fan embassy projects at major tournaments and anti-racism activities. The #CelebrateFootball campaign under the Respect banner enjoyed success at UEFA EURO 2016, and promoted fan culture as a key area.
UEFA also backs the work of SD Europe, the organisation that advises democratic supporters groups on how to become involved in the ownership and running of their football clubs as well as working together with UEFA to implement supporter liaison officers (SLO) at clubs as part of the UEFA Club Licensing and Financial Fair Play Regulations.
Under Article 35 of UEFA's Club Licensing and Financial Fair Play Regulations, clubs across Europe are required to appoint a supporter liaison officer (SLO) to ensure a proper and constructive discourse with their fans. The introduction of this UEFA licensing requirement constitutes a new landmark in club-supporter relations and emphasises the importance UEFA attaches to dialogue and communication between clubs and fans.
UEFA is now working closely with SD Europe on training and information offerings designed to facilitate the introduction of this new SLO requirement, which centres on improving communications between the various football stakeholders and providing a focal point for supporters to organise themselves better and feed their insights into club decision-making processes.