Volunteers at 2017 Confederations Cup draw: “We are a great team!”

What vounteerd did at the Official Draw of the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup
06 December 2016
On November 26, 2016, Kazan hosted the Official Draw of FIFA Confederations Cup 2017. The event’s organization was greatly helped by the activists of 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™,Volunteer Centers. There are 270 of them at Kazan. Welcome2018.com spoke to some of them about the ceremony.

Vita Savelieva

Volunteer Center of Sochi State University, “Transportation” function.

It was Vita’s first volunteer event outside of her native Sochi, and she had a great experience.

- This is my first event as a volunteer for FIFA Confederations Cup 2017 and 2018 FIFA World Cup, but I’m positive that it’s not the last. This is the first time I went to volunteer at another city, and I couldn’t help but feel the immensity of everything that was happening. I’m used to the fact that Sochi regularly hosts lots of events, and there’s no need to go anywhere. I was really impressed by the amount of work that has to be done in order to organize what is basically a one-hour event. And although some people only had to volunteer and fill one position on the day of the event, many volunteers began helping a week in advance or even before that.

- How did you interact with other volunteers? Did you have a sense of togetherness? 

- This is something I wanted to mention separately. I came here with other students from Sochi, and every day I spent with them, since we all lived in the same house. We are a great team! I couldn’t even imagine how close we’d get in the course of this magical week, even though we didn’t know anything other than each other’s names when we first met at the airport to fly here. I’m very happy that together with these people I’m helping our Volunteer Center, and that I have an opportunity to see them almost every day.

Some of the volunteers live in Kazan, some came from afar, and some from the neighbouring towns, but absolutely everyone that I saw and talked to was always smiling, very friendly and upbeat. Thinking about all these people made the cold days in Kazan warmer.
Vita: “This is us at the volunteer party (Vita is second from the left - editor’s note). Unfortunately, not everyone could make it because they still had to work. But here you see with us Sergei Cheremshanov, our favourite director of Sochi’s Forward Volunteer Center.”© Vita Savelieva
 - Working in transportation, did you have a chance to meet some interesting people?

 - Yes, on the day of the event I was working at the parking lot for VIP guests who took part in the ceremony and the concert. I saw [TV showman] Andrei Malakhov, [world champion] Elena Isinbaeva, [jazz musician] Igor Butman, [pop performers] Dima Bilan, Timati, and Grigory Leps. It was rather intersting, seeing these strangers and realizing that you do know something about them. There’s no doubt that it was a memorable experience, and that I’ll remember the day of the Draw well.

- What are you bringing home with you?

- Lots of value! Kazan played a big role in it, too. I really like the city even though it was strange at first to see fields instead of hills, snow instead of grass, and birch-trees instead of palm trees. I mean, you do understand that this is typical Russia, frosty, and yet warm. As I already said, I really got to know the people who came with me from Sochi, and I just can’t believe we didn’t become friends earlier. Plus, we met this very nice guy who lived right next door to us. His name is Brunel, and on his last day in Kazan he promised to find us on social media. And he really did! I was really surprised when he sent me a friend request at VKontakte social network. It was increadibly nice. Plus, I’m happy for the chance to practice my English. Now, I can’t wait until summer to volunteer at the Confederations Cup. I’m sure it’s going to be unforgettable.

Ekaterina Grechishkina

Volunteer Center of St. Petersburg State University of Economics, “Media operations” function.

For Ekaterina Grechishkina from the Volunteer Center of St. Petersburg State University of Economics, Official Draw of the FIFA Confederations Cup 2017 was the second large-scale official event of the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™.
Ekaterina at the red carpet in front of the Konstantinovsky Palace. Preliminary Draw of the 2018 FIFA World Cup in St. Petersburg © Ekaterina Grechishkina
- How did you like it in Kazan? - The first one was the Preliminary Draw of the 2018 FIFA World Cup, which took place at the Konstantinovsky Palace, in St. Petersburg, in 2015.

The Official Draw left me with lots of different feelings, from the childlike excitement from everything that was happening to a certain sense of sadness that everything ended so fast, while we were just getting going. In Kazan, I realized that I’ve become a more experience volunteer.br>
- Tell us about your role.

- My role is called “Media operations.” There are three principal positions: information stand, press conference room, and the media platform in the Official Draw room.
I was the team leader at the press conference room, and helped the volunteers there. We also had to help the journalists if they had any questions or problems, provide them with information support, and make sure that everything was in order.

Plus, I had a chance to help at the Official Draw room. We helped with the microphones, and monitored order in the room. It was very interesting to see it all from within, to be a part of the process, to share my experience from the Preliminary Draw in St. Petersburg, and to be able to compare these two events. Working at the Media Center, we had a great team of 30 people.

Ekaterina Zvereva

Volunteer Center of the Moscow State Institute of International Relations of the Russian Foreign Ministry, “Protocol” function.

- For me, the Official Draw of the Confederations Cup was the first large-scale event in the run-up to the 2018 World Cup. Before this, I was mostly focused on helping out at our Volunteer Center: interviews, enlistment of volunteers, processing of results, etc.

From the moment I came to Kazan, I could feel the importance of this event: I was surrounded with logos of the Confederations Cup. There was a great number of volunteers working at all the positions, starting with the airport.
And, of course, I was amazed by the number of important guests at the Official Draw and the following banquet: there were government figures, heads of FIFA, members of the Organising Committee, famous athletes, and representatives of all the Volunteer Centers. Standing next to these people, I had a chance to appreciate the scale of this event.

Ekaterina during the Official Draw ceremony in Kazan. © Ekaterina Zvereva
 - What did you do in Kazan?

- I came to Kazan as a volunteer for the “Protocol” function, I was responsible for greeting the guests. I was joined by several more people from our center — Elizaveta Zaitseva, Eleni Pratikaki, Stefan Shvedov, and the head of our Volunteer Center Narine Lalayan. First up was the accreditation. Then we were given our uniforms, had several training sessions, visited all of the venues, and after that began our work under the tactful guidance of Sergei Radko. I would like to extend him a special thanks for the great organization, understanding and kindness.

There were a lot of volunteers, and it was great to see people from all over Russia, and even from abroad! On our team, we had people from Kazan, Moscow, St. Petersburg, Rostov-on-Don, Yekaterinburg, Nizhny Novgorod, Saransk, Munich, and Lyon. And we had a great time together.

The volunteers in general are a very friendly lot, and there’s a lot of team spirit, and the Official Draw wasn’t an exception. I especially enjoyed the closing ceremony of appreciation for the volunteers that was put on by the Organising Committee after the official events were completed.

CEO of 2018 FIFA World Cup Local Organising Committee Alexei Sorokin and Director of Volunteer Department Tatyana Gomzyakova, along with the heads of all the different volunteer functions, said a lot of warm words, there was lots of music, dancing and picture taking. It was a great way to conclude the Official Draw of FIFA Confederations Cup 2017 in Russia!
- This isn’t your first time volunteering at the athletic events. How was Kazan useful for you?

- I met a lot of interesting people, practiced my foreign language (I had to speak Spanish a lot), communications and etiquette skills. In a matter of just two days I got a great energy boost and experienced a lot of pleasant emotions. Plus, I’ve always wanted to visit the capital of Tatarstan, and the city amazed me with its beauty, hospitality, and cleanliness.

Photo: Egor Aleev/ТАSS


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