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Locating the Supporter Liaison Officer in the football field: Bridges, brokers and the ‘supporter gaze’

Ludvigsen, J (2023) Locating the Supporter Liaison Officer in the football field: Bridges, brokers and the ‘supporter gaze’. International Review for the Sociology of Sport. pp. 1-17. ISSN 1012-6902

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This article examines a relatively recent yet under-researched role in the governance of elite European football – namely, the Supporter Liaison Officer. The Supporter Liaison Officer, as appointed by football clubs, is commonly envisioned as a mediator between fans and the clubs, authorities and security actors situated in the European football field. However, following its formal inception in the 2012/2013, little is known about how stakeholders understand the evolving and heterogeneously implemented Supporter Liaison Officer role. Drawing upon documentary and interview data, this article unpacks two key themes to develop two primary arguments. First, it argues that Supporter Liaison Officers may be understood as ‘social brokers’ that bridge together stakeholders who often possess diverging viewpoints and whose relationships are impacted by social barriers. Second, Supporter Liaison Officers are perceived as possessors of what is conceptualised here as a ‘supporter gaze’. Whilst contributing to the literature on supporter engagement and dialogue, these arguments also matter because if we understand the Supporter Liaison Officer implementation as influenced by supporter activism in Europe, then this article speaks to how outcomes of supporter pressure mature over time and their implications on football's supporter and security cultures.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: 1504 Commercial Services; 1608 Sociology; 2002 Cultural Studies; Sport, Leisure & Tourism
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GV Recreation Leisure > GV561 Sports
Divisions: Humanities & Social Science
Publisher: SAGE Publications
SWORD Depositor: A Symplectic
Date Deposited: 23 Feb 2024 16:37
Last Modified: 23 Feb 2024 16:45
DOI or ID number: 10.1177/10126902231195569
URI: https://researchonline.ljmu.ac.uk/id/eprint/22681
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