- Simao Sabrosa and Dmitri Bulykin surprise volunteers
- Both former players spoke about importance of volunteering
- "They are genuinely a vital part of the Confederations Cup"
Staff at the Spartak Stadium Volunteer Centre were treated to a special surprise as former Portugal midfielder Simao Sabrosa and ex-Russia striker Dmitri Bulykin popped in to say 'hello'.
The pair were in the capital on the eve of the FIFA Confederations Cup 2017 match between Russia and Portugal, which is generating a lot of excitement among football fans.
The footballers jumped at the chance to spend time with the volunteers, discussing the various functional areas where they are helping the tournament organisers and challenging them to games of kicker. The volunteers even taught the duo some of the dance moves they use to stoke the atmosphere at the stadiums. Sabrosa, a runner-up at UEFA EURO 2004, and Bulykin, a 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™ Host City Ambassador, then spoke about the importance of volunteering at major football tournaments.
“I’ve had a great pleasure meeting with the volunteers,” said Sabrosa. “I arrived early in the morning, took a short nap and went to the stadium. The volunteers are so cheerful, animated and full of life, my fatigue did not leave a trace.
“I remember my career as a footballer: volunteers were always there to help during matches and training sessions,” Bulykin said. “Now I see how they greet fans at matches – always with a smile and in an upbeat mood. They are genuinely a vital part of the Confederations Cup. I’m confident they’ll help organise this tournament to a high standard and leave a positive impression on visitors and locals in Russia.”
The distinguished guests happily took photos with the volunteers and signed the colourful display next to the wishes left by FIFA Secretary General Fatma Samoura, who also visited the centre recently. At the end of the visit, Sabrosa and Bulykin thanked everyone present for such a warm welcome and were presented with their very own volunteer t-shirts signed with good-luck messages.
For Artem Krikunov, taking part in the Confederations Cup as part of Team Services is a “massive responsibility, a chance to test myself, an interesting experience and an opportunity to see how the organisation of such a big competition works from the inside.”
“We went through a strict selection process and now we’re doing everything to ensure the teams are comfortable.” Artem revealed to FIFA.com. “It’s been a delight to meet volunteers with similar interests and I really want to be involved in the organisation of the World Cup next year, where there will be even more teams and even more fans from all over the world.”
The volunteers involved in the Russia-Portugal match then went off to complete their final preparations to ensure that both players and spectators fully enjoy today’s game and the atmosphere at this massive footballing celebration.
In total, 5844 volunteers have been split into 20 functional areas at Confederations Cup stadiums and other sites. Broken down, there are 1590 volunteers in Moscow, 1733 in Saint Petersburg, 1260 in Kazan and 1261 in Sochi.