With less than a week to go to the biggest and best AFC Asian Cup in history, the UAE's multitude of volunteers, from all nationalities and cultures have come together to receive training in a variety of critical roles.
Over 5,000 volunteers from 131 nationalities, including 37 Asian countries, were selected to volunteer for the AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019.
Volunteers in Abu Dhabi and Al Ain already attended the pre-event workshop, where they honed their skills in preparation for their tournament roles, which include welcoming teams, venue operations and management, logistics, media management, hospitality and more.
Ahmed Al Qubaisi, director of marketing and communications for the local organising committee highlighted the one important role volunteers have above all else, which is "to spread the excitement and magic of the AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019 to every single person living in the UAE."
He said: "Volunteers are the heart and soul of every major sporting event. The AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019 is no exception and we owe everything to these community heroes who will work tirelessly behind the scenes, so that everyone attending games can have an experience that will live long in the memory."
"This is the biggest sporting event that has ever been held in the UAE and preparation for what is to come is absolutely key. Today is all about upskilling our volunteers, providing them with the necessary tools and building connections and relationships so that come January 5th we are collectively ready to host a fantastic celebration of football."
Also welcoming the volunteers to the training session, Mohammad Al Shateri, Volunteer manager for the local organising committee, addressed the audience: "Volunteers are the backbone of a tournament and without you we could not hope to achieve the success we all dream of. "We have had over 23,000 volunteer applicants for the AFC Asian Cup, many of whom have experience in other sporting events, so this shows that we have exceptional commitment and enthusiasm from our communities in the UAE. I encourage everybody to make the most of this opportunity, learn new skills and show Asia that the UAE is a fantastic, welcoming country."
Throughout the two days in Abu Dhabi and Al Ain, volunteers transitioned between different seminars and sessions which were designed to build knowledge of the roles they will be carrying out.One of those volunteers was Mohammad, aged 23, who said: "Helping to deliver this football tournament is a dream come true. To combine my love of volunteering with football is something that really excites me, and I now just can't wait for kick-off. It's clear my fellow volunteers are equally excited about what is about to come!"
The AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019 is set to benefit from the hard work of volunteers who speak 41 languages, ensuring easy access to information for fans and tournament guests from all over the world.
With volunteers ranging from 16 to 84 years of age, the biggest ever AFC Asian Cup will have a wealth of youth and experience to count on during the four-week showpiece. There are six key volunteer roles being carried out throughout the competition, including venue management, competition management, media, marketing, protocol and accreditation.
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