More than half a million people have now signed up on FIFA’s global volunteer platform for the upcoming World Cup competition in Qatar.
The FIFA volunteer program revamped in December 2020, is the largest of its kind in sport, allowing everyone who signs up on the registration portal to apply to take part in any future FIFA tournament.
Volunteer numbers have soared from 100,000 to 500,000 since October 2021, with the fast-approaching FIFA World Cup unsurprisingly proving the biggest draw.
“This rise in people signing up to the platform truly is remarkable,” said FIFA President Gianni Infantino.
“The surge in numbers shows that our volunteer program and platform are becoming a real, global community, with incredible interest in taking part in the FIFA World Cup in Qatar later this year.”
“Volunteers play a key role in every FIFA tournament. Along with their energy and smiles, they bring a unique atmosphere, giving their time and expertise to ensure football continues to flourish. Once again, volunteers have shown their commitment to, and love of, our sport, and we are truly thankful for this.”
Overall, 53.1% of volunteers are in employment, while 34.4% are students
The landmark figure has also impressed the FIFA Secretary General, Fatma Samoura. “It is outstanding to reach this important milestone so quickly after the program was relaunched, and we are very happy,” she said.
“For football to continue to thrive, volunteers are absolutely essential. We can see the popularity and love of our sport shine through in these fantastic volunteers. It is a very special community and we look forward to it expanding further.”
The spread of volunteers across all events is fascinating and, with the FIFA World Cup 2022 on the horizon, the regions closest to Qatar are strongly represented: 43.2% are from Asia and 40.2% from Africa.
English is the most commonly spoken language among applicants (94.4%), while 23.8% speak French, 16.7% Spanish and 3.8% German. Almost half of volunteers – 48.9%, to be precise – speak a language other than the aforementioned four.
Overall, 53.1% of volunteers are in employment, while 34.4% are students. In terms of age groups, 24- to 34-year-olds lead the way (42.9%) ahead of 18- to 24-year-olds, who make up 36%, while 35- to 44-year-olds comprise 15.6% and 5.5% of volunteers are aged 45 or over.
Applications for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 volunteer program – the largest such scheme in Qatar’s history – will close on Sunday, 31 July at 23:59 (Doha time). The program is aimed at bringing people together through football to deliver the first FIFA World Cup in the Middle East and Arab world, while celebrating their mutual love for the game and showcasing the true spirit of Qatar. It will put 20,000 passionate volunteers at the heart of the tournament’s operations and create a proud volunteering legacy in the region.
“Billions of people will be watching when the world’s greatest football event happens in our home this November. As residents of Qatar, we have the chance to support the tournament through volunteering. It’s been amazing to see the candidates’ excitement to join the volunteering team,” said Dr Susan Borden, a US national who is part of the pioneering group that is interviewing the applicants.
Interviews will be completed by 13 August, when the tournament reaches the 100 days-to-go milestone. Members of the public aged at least 18, whether passionate football fans or simply interested in the volunteering experience, had until Sunday, 31 July to apply to take part in the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022.