Hampden Park’s UEFA EURO 2020 volunteers have received a pre-tournament team-talk involving the biggest name on TV, manager of the top international team in world football, and the Scotland hero whose goals paved the way for qualification for the first time in 23 years.
UEFA EURO 2020 Volunteer Ambassador Martin Compston, who plays DS Steve Arnott in the hit show Line of Duty that drew more than 12m viewers for its Season Six climax on Sunday, joined John McGinn, Belgian boss Roberto Martinez and James McFadden in wishing the volunteers the best as they enter final preparations to stage four UEFA EURO 2020 matches at Hampden next month.
The UEFA EURO 2020 Volunteer Management Team in Glasgow confirmed that more than 90% of the volunteers who applied to the UEFA EURO 2020 Volunteer Programme pre COVID-19 – and before Scotland’s epic qualification against Serbia – have been reselected, with some starting their volunteer missions as soon as 13th May.
The A-listers engaged with the volunteers in an exclusive training video designed to inspire and motivate the ‘team behind the team’ as they begin their preparations.
Speaking about the importance of volunteers, Line of Duty star Martin Compston, said: “They are the face of Scotland and the face of the tournament – the point of contact for so many people. For all these volunteers who are making this massive operation behind the scenes a reality and making all of us relaxed so that we can just sit down and watch it on the TV – a massive thank you!
“I still in some ways don’t feel like this is real, Scotland is hosting a EUROs, and Scotland is playing in it. To say you’re going to be a part of it is something you will keep with you for the rest of your life.”
Scotland kick-off their Group D campaign against Czech Republic at Hampden on June 14 and play Croatia in Glasgow on June 22, in between a trip to face England at Wembley on June 18. Hampden will host three group games and a Round of 16 match on June 29.
With easing restrictions on course to enable up to 12,000 supporters to attend matches at Hampden Park and across the multi-city tournament, the organisers are delighted that so many of the volunteers from the initial application process are now able to participate in the training programme.
Current Scotland favourite John McGinn added: “The volunteers are just as important as us to show that we are capable of hosting an event like this. Hopefully they can enjoy the experience, and this can be a highlight of what has been a difficult year and a half.”
Volunteers from age 18 to 81 applied from 50 nations worldwide to play their part in Glasgow’s co-hosting. Closer to home, a diverse group of people from a wide variety of backgrounds such as teachers, students, armed forces and taxi drivers applied along with 47 Scottish FA qualified referees and match officials when applications originally opened in June 2019, with volunteers taking on a variety of roles from May 2021 behind the scenes at Hampden Park.
Former Scotland international James McFadden expressed: “It’s great for the volunteers who can go and help out and be part of that experience. If you’re presenting you hear the commentators and all of the things that are in front of the camera but there’s more to it than that. The build-up, the staff members that you don’t see, the volunteers, they are a crucial part of what we are doing. The tournament doesn’t happen without the volunteers.”
Keen to focus on having a strong local base, UEFA and the Local Organising Structure for EURO 2020 have drawn volunteers from across Glasgow and Scotland – but there will be an international flavour to the biggest event in the city since the 2014 Commonwealth Games – with local Volunteers providing support for fans in 30 different languages.
Belgium National Team manager, and former Motherwell midfielder, Roberto Martinez expressed: “This is a wonderful responsibility to represent your city, to represent your nation and then to be the first face and the first contact that any fan, any footballer, any person related to this tournament is going to have. It’s also a wonderful opportunity to enjoy the occasion and the opportunity to sell your city and your nation through football, which is one of the most powerful weapons we have in society and can affect the memories of millions of football fans.”
Recruitment for the UEFA EURO 2020 Volunteer Programme remains closed, with those on the ‘On The Bench Squad’ i.e. the stand-by list, first in line for any opportunities that arise between now and the tournament kick-off in June.
The Host City volunteers, known as VW Mobility Makers, have also commenced their update sessions with Glasgow Life who manage the programme, in preparation for the tournament.
Kai Skeoch, a Masters student from Prestwick, commented: “I was delighted to find out that I had been offered a role for the tournament. I had been really looking forward to hearing back and enjoyed the interview and application process. Then when I found out I had been given a Matchday Organisation Volunteer role my excitement grew even more, knowing I would be in the stadium for matchdays and training days and be as close to the action as possible was a dream. It’s a situation that not many people can say they have been in and something I hope to be able to recount for years to come.”
John Reid, a former member of the Royal Navy who resides in Kirkintilloch, said: “It has been a bit of a rollercoaster, at first I was delighted, to know that I was going to be involved was fantastic and I just couldn’t wait to get started.
The excitement of trying on the Euro2020 uniform was something else completely, but then the pandemic hit and it felt like the tournament wouldn’t happen at all. So it was great to hear that it would eventually be played this year and an even better boost to hear that 12,000 fans will be there to cheer on the teams.”
Jamie Lafferty, a Financial Crime Investigations Officer from Motherwell, expressed: “Finding out I had been selected as a volunteer was absolutely overwhelming. I was so pleased and privileged to be able to be given the opportunity to help.”
“As the final countdown begins, I am getting that bit more excited where I can’t stop telling people that I’m a part of the Euros in Glasgow, I just can’t wait to get started and be an asset to the whole UEFA EURO 2020 team.”
Francine Bucumi, a Lead Practitioner at Turning Point Scotland who lives in Dennistoun, detailed: “Having recently been involved in the 2014 Commonwealth Games and other sporting occasions, I know how rewarding it is to participate in these events. My son is also a massive football supporter and I feel my contribution to such a big event will be a legacy to him.”