Wednesday, June 24, 2015

FIFA and me

I am currently volunteering for the FIFA Women's World Cup that is been hosted by 6 cities across Canada.

Vancouver is considered the hub city for the tournament - that is where the officials etc are based and then dispatched to the various cities as there expertise is required - referees, doping, media etc.

My basic job has been in the transport area - airport arrivals, departures and game day shuttling between the hotel and the stadium.

When an event of this size and scope is planned many assumptions are made usually using the worst case scenario as the planning tool. This is particularly true in the area of transport and as a result we have on many days far more drivers than assignments so some different roles were offered to us.

Many of the drivers have jobs, family or sport commitments so they can't take extra shifts.

I of course don't fit that criteria so I volunteered to help out in the area of media relations - there are two aspects to that - practices at the practice fields and game day.

For security reasons I won't mention the practice field sites but basically we are to ensure that the protocol in place is followed as per team instructions - teams can have open or closed practices - if opened media have access on the field for the entire time - if closed - the first fifteen minutes they are allowed on the field and then at the end their is either a post practice news conference and/or individual request for an interview. The actual clearing of the field is done by the media liaison person for each team.  

There is also a media tent with wi-fi and power - it is opened one hour prior to one hour after the practice - only media with proper ID are allowed on the site  - they must show the accreditation and sign in.

The other part of the media task is game day - I got my first experience with this at Monday night's game between Japan and the Netherlands.

There are two main media areas at the stadium - broadcast - ie - on air radio and TV and print - I worked in the print area for that game.

But before I could do that there was the little matter of my own accreditation - our initial accreditation was issued on the basis of what we were approved and scheduled for. 

I my case that was transport - media requires additional access so it was a quick trip to the accreditation trailer - a new picture and more access stickers - I was off to the media center and then up to media area.

While working transport we get a meal voucher from our base hotel to order from their room service menu - when doing the stadium we get a ticket and a catered meal is provided - water and pop from the sponsor is free and unlimited.

I was also lucky enough to get to see part of the Canada/Swiss game and did see the only goal of the game.

As for last night game - it was a clear view of the field from high up in the stadium.

I have a day off today and then return to driving tomorrow - at least that is what is scheduled.

Canada next plays on Saturday against England - because of some other commitments I didn't schedule myself to work that day but did buy a ticket for the game.

The game is a sellout so there will be around 54,000 screaming fans, mostly wearing Canada's red and white.  

This is a just a little summary of my activities of late.