Road to FIFA World Cup 2018: Volunteers Centre opens in St Petersburg

Volunteers during the opening of the Center (Photo credit: Maria Michela D'Alessandro)

The Volunteers Centre opened its doors today in St Petersburg just five months before the FIFA Confederations Cup 2017  

Every football fan knows that Russia will be hosting the next FIFA Confederations Cup and World Cup, with St Petersburg as one of the major cities for championship games in 2017 and 2018 respectively. Over 15,000 volunteers will be at FIFA World Cup Russia 2018 and over 5,500 will be involved during the FIFA Confederations Cup 2017, reports FIFA. The campaign to recruit volunteers for both championships started in 2016, and has set a new record as one of the largest number of volunteer applicants in World Cup history, with 27% of candidates coming from abroad.

From today, 23 January until 28 February, the House of Youth (Dom Molodejy) on Vasilievsky Island will be the new headquarters of the Volunteers Centre where the interviews to become a volunteer will take place.

“The first step of recruitment happens online filling out an application,” explains Dasha, one of the volunteers present at the centre’s opening. “In the next month we will test abilities, motivation and language skills of the future volunteers,” she adds.

As every World Cup, Russia too has faced controversies. Some as local as the costs of building the Krestovsky Stadium in St Petersburg, which was originally budgeted at 5.2bn roubles (81.2m euro) and costing, officially stated, at least 42.8bn (669m euro).

Despite the hurdles, the World Cup in Russia opens its doors to foreigners to discover the vastness of the country, with the possibility to enter Russia without a visa during the period of the championship. The volunteers will be the beating heart of the events, and remain motivated to participate in this historical experience. Dasha is optimistic about the games, saying that “the Confederations Cup and the World Cup are a good opportunity for Russia; Russian cities will host thousands of tourists and we are ready to help them.” The volunteers will be divided into 20 areas covering different roles, from team services, ceremonies operations, spectator services, linguistic support and media operations.

As a prelude to the 2018 FIFA World Cup, the 10th FIFA Confederations Cup will be held in St Petersburg, Moscow, Kazan and Sochi between 17 June  and 2 July .

St Petersburg’s new Krestovsky Stadium, built for the international championships, has a capacity of almost 70,000 people and will host Confederations Cup’s first and final match on 17 June and 2 July. The application process to become a volunteer for the championship games is still open here and it is possible buy the tickets to watch your national team play or just be part of Russia 2018!

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