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Qatar 2022 volunteers treated to a special day during the International Volunteer Day

The first-ever FIFA World Cup edition to be held in a Middle Eastern country was moved to wintertime, due to the scorching heat of the summer, with everything going without the slightest hitch at Qatar 2022. In part, it was also thanks to the 20.000 volunteers that worked out day and night to deliver a tournament which will never be forgotten.

Volunteers from all over the world gathered in Qatar for the tournament to cater for every need, from the fans that needed guidance to reach the venues of the competition, to the media that had any issues to raise during the competition.

”Over 20.000 volunteers took part in the competition, from a pool of 500.000 candidates, after 55.000 of them were interviewed. There was a huge desire for volunteers to enrol in a programme ensuring the success of a mega event like the FIFA World Cup. Volunteering is now part of the Qatari culture,” said Nasser Al Mogaiseeb, the Director of the Volunteer Strategy Department at the Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy.

In a FIFA World Cup full of premieres, Qatar 2022 also saw International Volunteer Day fall for the first time ever on a match day. It was an excellent moment to say a heartfelt ”thank you” to all the volunteers that did everything to ensure that the tournament became an instant classic.

To celebrate and honour those seen as the heart of the tournament, the organisers paid a tribute to tournament volunteers during the Round of 16 matches played at Al Janoub Stadium and Stadium 974. In addition to that, the FIFA World Cup trophy was made available for the thousands of volunteers expected to gather for pictures and a range of activities at the Volunteer Hub located at the Doha Exhibition Centre (DEC).

““We are so proud of all our volunteers. Not only the ones at the stadiums but also the ones behind the scenes, helping away from people’s eyes. Their generous spirit can be felt in the positive atmosphere around the city and I’m certain their impact will create a lasting legacy for the culture of volunteerism in the region. Volunteers from abroad have had the chance to see what it’s like to be part of a major global event in Qatar, and those from Qatar and the region have witnessed the heights that can be achieved together,” said Rasha Al Qarni, the Workforce and Administration Director for FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 LLC.

Volunteers who gave their free time and helped organise this mega sporting event were also treated to a huge surprise, when they had the chance to meet some of their idols, as 10 FIFA World Cup ambassadors paid a surprise visit on 20 November to the Volunteer Hub in the DEC to meet, engage and exchange stories with a lucky group of volunteers.

Some of the volunteers had the chance to meet and greet David Beckham, the former English international, who was a true hero at the FIFA World Cup, assisting at a panel discussion which also contained Danish women’s football star Nadia Nadim, and Qatari entrepreneur, philanthropist and public speaker, Ghanim Al Muftah. The inspirational talk touched on teamwork, sustainability and accessibility and included heartfelt messages of encouragement for the volunteers on the eve of the tournament kick-off.

Other FIFA World Cup ambassadors, like former France international Marcel Desailly, Cote d’Ivoire legend, Yaya Toure and Qatari World and Olympic high jump champion Mutaz Barshim went and became volunteers for a day themselves and  were given official volunteer uniforms and briefed in their duties to help distribute uniforms to FIFA World Cup workforce staff and volunteers.

“It was a great experience to understand the dedication, the passion and the commitment of the volunteers. Now we know and we want each of the 20,000 volunteers to know that all their amazing hard work is fully recognized and appreciated. The tournament could not be delivered without them,” said Desailly according to the official website of FIFA, after taking part in the “A day in the life of a volunteer” programme.

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