2013 was the year of the volunteer in large sports competitions. Following the example set by the Olympics, other sports are organising volunteers to provide a connection to the fans.
Head of the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil Local Organising Committee’s (LOC) Volunteer Programme, Rodrigo Hermida gave figures for the Volunteer Programme at the Confederation Cup. On matchdays, there was an 80 per cent attendance rate from volunteers. From the total of 5,652 volunteers, 2,429 (43 per cent) were women. 256 hailed from outside Brazil – with Colombia leading the way with 35 representatives. Spectator Services employed most volunteers, with 1,732 people spread across the six FIFA Confederations Cup Brazil 2013 Host Cities. Hermida said:
These people have been doing such a sensational job that they even managed to get one of the national teams (Tahiti) dancing frevo (a traditional Pernambuco dance).
They’re living proof of the legacy that a competition such as the FIFA Confederations Cup can leave the country. We carry out training sessions, competency work and we put faith in people. We need them to spread the word about everything they’re going through, so that others realise just how good it is to have this experience.
A number of UK events quoted the example of the London 2012 Games Makers as inspiration. Silverstone Circuit Silverstone recruited 105 volunteers as Race Makers to lend their support at two of the biggest motor sport events on the UK sporting calendar. Richard Phillips, Managing Director, Silverstone Circuits Ltd, commented:
The Games Makers had a huge impact on the London Olympic Games last year; this has inspired Silverstone to call on a number of volunteers for its two biggest events on the motor sport calendar – the FORMULA 1 SANTANDER BRITISH GRAND PRIX and the Hertz MotoGP British Grand Prix. We received over 1,000 applications which were narrowed down to a select group of 105. The Silverstone Race Makers will help us to ensure the smooth running of these fantastic events and add to the atmosphere at both British Grands Prix. It is a great opportunity for motor racing fans all over the country to get involved in their favourite motor sport events and the Race Makers can’t wait to get started.
2,600 people applied for the 800 positions of Cricketeer for the ICC Champions Trophy in the UK in the summer. Cricketeers helped supervise children’s cricket on the pitches at half time, supported medical staff and managed accreditation, among other tasks. Some came from having been at the 2012 Olympics, some from local clubs. Steve Elworthy, MD for Global Events and Marketing at the ECB, said that the scheme would be rolled out to other international events – Women’s U17, World Cup 17 and the Test match playoff final in 2019 are on the horizon – and possibly to the domestic scene.
Also in the UK, the Rugby League World Cup created the RWC team13 for volunteers to help with that tournament’s very successful staging. And adding to the feeling that 2013 was a breakthrough year for volunteering.