This autumn has seen a Local Organising Committee (COL) and FIFA working group engage in a third tour of the various FIFA Women’s World Cup France 2019™ venues, with every stadium undergoing the same inspection. We reveal what these inspections consist of and the areas they address.
A number of stadium visits are scheduled in the lead-up to every World Cup, once the Host Cities have been announced. In the case of France 2019, a series of four visits in all have been planned. Following specifications set out by FIFA, the aim is to assess how the stadiums function and to ensure that they will be operational next June, once the necessary arrangements and changes have been made (fan arrivals, media facilities, etc). The process involves the stadiums switching from a domestic championship set-up to one expected of a World Cup, which means the highest possible standards.
A summary of previous experiences, these specifications set out the requirements for each project, chief among them operations (match organisation, security, logistics, accreditation, etc), ticketing, the volunteers’ programme and legacy.
While the goals of the first two visits were to become acquainted with the stadiums, rework existing plans, identify the flows of the various groups using the stadium (fans, organisation, guests, media) and select the areas to be allocated to each department, this third round of visits involves evaluating the changes made to date.
“This third assessment is essential to the organisation of the World Cup, no matter whether you’re the LOC, FIFA or the Host Cities,” said the LOC’s Tournament Director, Bertrand Paquette. “It’s the last visit where every department is present and it should enable all of us to gain a global vision of what’s been done so far and to finalise all the stadium layout operations. Once this visit has been completed, there will just be a few details to sort out at the start of the year.”
A base for the volunteers
As Paquette went on to explain, FIFA and the LOC sometimes have to use their ingenuity in response to the reality on the ground: “The volunteer centres are a perfect example. The volunteers make use of them to carry out their duties or just to relax, so we need to find places that are big enough and easy to access. Most stadiums already have a facility that meets our criteria, but in some cities, we’ve opted for facilities near to the stadiums, such as gyms. They have to be sufficiently close and be large enough to accommodate as many people as possible in the best conditions. Between 250 and 350 volunteers will be operational at each venue.”
In reassessing the selection of facilities for each project, inspection teams may deem it necessary to find new and more suitable ones. The logistics warehouse used during the course of the tournament is another excellent example of this. Not only does it have to be accessible to hauliers making their daily deliveries, but it also has to be sufficiently large to stock all the material. A lot of care and attention must therefore go into selecting a location that is regarded by the organisers as something of a nerve centre.
FIFA and the LOC will return one last time to each stadium in early 2019, to agree on the final changes to be made.