The President of Russia, Vladimir Putin, praised sports volunteerism as selfless, altruistic work for a worthy cause.
"Volunteerism is not just an opportunity to be around a star footballer, to wear a nice outfit, or simply to hang out with cool people,” Putin said, speaking at the kick-off ceremony for the FIFA World Cup 2018 Russia™ Volunteer Programme. “First of all, it’s selfless, altruistic service in the name of a noble, positive cause. In this lies the essence of the volunteer movement.”
Opening the ceremony, the President noted that the 32 strongest national football teams in the world will be coming to Russia for World Cup 2018. "Today, we are firing the starting gun for the 33rd – and most numerous – team, the team of the World Cup 2018 volunteers,” he said. For a month, 15,000 volunteers will serve as Russia’s showcase for the fans from around the world, the President said. "You, World Cup volunteers, will largely define the impressions that our guests will take back home with them.”
"Furthermore, we expect the volunteers to actively join in the wide-ranging World Cup Cultural Programme,” the Russian President continued. “This means that they will not only accompany our guests at the sports venues, but will always be ready to prompt them with an interesting sightseeing route and offer information about cultural landmarks and recreational opportunities.”
“From year to year, volunteerism has become an increasingly important part of Russia’s public life,” Putin noted, adding that the movement has been augmented with tens of thousands of people who are ready to work pro bono, giving assistance to those who need it. "I trust that many of you – those of you who will become World Cup volunteers – will treasure the positive charge received from that unique tournament, and will subsequently carry on your volunteer mission in other socially meaningful projects and initiatives,” he said.