Perhaps inspired by the idea of taking part in the first FIFA World Cup™ to be staged close to home in 28 years, people from across Latin America have been signing up in numbers for the Volunteer Programme for the FIFA Confederations Cup Brazil 2013 and the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil.
The region’s countries lead the way in the ranking of applications made from overseas, with Peru out front with 146 and Colombia second with 118. Standing third with 106 is Mexico, the venue for the last FIFA World Cup to be held in Latin America, back in 1986.
“My first FIFA World Cup was 1990 but I’ve got very clear memories of the party the Mexicans organised four years earlier,” said Bebeto, a member of the Management Board of the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil LOC, in reference to Argentina’s march to their second world title, a triumph inspired by the great Diego Maradona.
“I am convinced Brazil will put on a similar show, one that will encourage people from neighbouring countries to come and celebrate with us. I just hope there will be a different national team lifting the Trophy than in 1990 and that it’ll be the Brazilian one.”
The number of countries represented by applicants to the LOC’s Volunteer Programme jumped in the space of one day from 69 to 101, from all five continents. No Asian country has made more applications than China, while the Poles are the frontrunners in Europe. Out front in Oceania and Africa, meanwhile, are Australia and Nigeria respectively.
By 4pm on Thursday some 65,000 people had applied to the Volunteer Programme. The Brazilian state registering the highest number of applications is Sao Paulo with 17,759, followed by Rio de Janeiro, Minas Gerais, Bahia and Rio Grande do Sul.