By Robbie Blakeley, Senior Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – The Brazilian government last week launched an audacious bid to find 50,000 volunteers to help ensure the 2014 World Cup logistics run smoothly. In addition, 7,000 will be expected to lend a hand at the Confederations Cup this June.
Last August FIFA, the world football (soccer) governing body, set up their own initiative, but the Brazilian government have jumped on board. Headed by the country’s Ministry for Sport, Aldo Rebelo, the two are now working in partnership.
Volunteers recruited by the government will be enrolled to aid both tourists and the general public during the events. Specific locations include airports, tourist points, public parties, of which there are likely to be hundreds during the tournaments, and well known night spots. There will be three volunteer groups; management support, event task force and tourist support.
Ricardo Trade, chief executive of the Local Organizing Committee (COL), said: “This program is fantastic. Volunteers will be pivotal to the success of the events [the Confederation and World Cups].”
As volunteers, those recruited will not be entitled to any form of financial remuneration for their time and effort. They will however receive meals, transport to and from their place of duty, an official uniform and insurance against accidents while working.
According to the Ministry for Sport, the Brazilian government will be spending in the region of R$30 million during the recruitment process. These costs cover selecting and training volunteers, purchase of uniforms, meals, transport expenses and insurance cover.
Those interested in putting themselves forward can visit the government’s official World Cup page – www.copa2014.gov.br. Applications have been open since January 22nd and will Saturday, February 16th. In order to be eligible for selection applicants must be at least eighteen years-old, live in Brazil and be available throughout the tournament.
The Confederations Cup runs from June 15th – 30th, while the World Cup next year is a longer commitment, from June 12th – July 13th.
Aldo Rebelo, the Minister for Sport, said, “We want the volunteer scheme to reflect Brazilian society as a whole. It will be a celebration of football’s greatest virtues: hope, optimism and a coming together of people.”
“The volunteer program is an expression of our country’s diversity. It’s important to speak foreign languages, but it is also important to actually want to be a volunteer.”
As well as knowledge of foreign languages, past experience as a volunteer and educational qualifications are also important considerations. Yet with such demanding criteria some feel the government will struggle to gain a realistic reflection of “Brazilian society as a whole” and may lose candidates able to find paid work.
Rodrigo Erthal, who lives in nearby Niterói, is a football fanatic and speaks fluent English, told The Rio Times: “It’s laughable what the government is demanding. […] They will walk away from the World Cup with hundreds of millions of dollars. But at the same time they expect qualified people to take a month out of their lives to work for nothing.”
As yet there have been no indications from the government that they are able to offer any other incentives, such as free or even discounted World Cup tickets.