They play a major role during Euro 2016: 500 volunteers were recruited by the City of Paris to greet the fans. They were gathered Saturday at the City Hall for all with the same desire, engage in adventure and participate voluntarily to the success this great sporting event. “I’m not even asked me, I felt like a personal invitation,” says Geneviève Rey, English teacher of 57 years and volunteer “Team Paris” for Euro (June 10 July 10 ). “I love sports! Sport is the one thing that unites us. The great sports events, we really emphasize them,” she adds. These volunteers will be responsible throughout the competition – the third world sporting event – to welcome, guide and advise visitors. “I wanted to be at the heart of the action, provide a welcome worthy of the name and participate in this great celebration of European football,” said Amadou Yatassaye, 27, who works at the Ministry of Sports and has already taken part as volunteer at many sports events.
In total, for the twelve matches scheduled in Paris and Saint-Denis, the final and the opening match is 650 volunteers will be mobilized by the City of Paris. Their mission: to be smiling, welcoming and serving others. Selected from 1,500 applicants after motivational interviewing, they will be deployed near train stations, subway exits, the “fan zone” of the Champ de Mars, Republic Square or on the steps of City Hall. Other volunteers, about 6500, recruited them by UEFA, will be involved in the different stages and around 24 teams. In the large living room of the City Hall, volunteers all profiles – students, employees, unemployed, pensioners – all united by their passion for football but also their taste for volunteering.
“Changing the image of Parisians”
“A similar event in France, I have never lived in, so I did not hesitate a single second,” said Beauclair Bilong, a computer engineer for 26 years. “I love to volunteer, meet new people. It has explained that it was not paid. Me, all I wanted was to participate,” he said. To participate, you had to be available at least two weeks, but no obligation to ask for days off, are the organizers that fit the availability of each. “I’m free after work and on weekends and I can take RTT without much problem,” says Sylvia Moran, a Mexican of 36 years who lived in Paris for five years. “In Mexico, soccer is really huge. I am not necessarily hyper fan, but I know it brings a lot of people,” she said. “And I’m also to change the image of Parisians: I consider myself Parisienne and I hear many say that Parisians are not friendly, but no, we’re nice people.”
But if everyone wants to make the Euro a “great festival”, some can not help thinking of the risk of attacks. “We think about every day, we take public transport every day, so we know it is a possibility. We will have a lot of people during Euro and we know that it can happen anywhere. But we going to stop living. anyway, I have not thought about canceling my participation because of that, “said Sylvia.