Writing in advance of the Football World Cup held in France between 10 June and 12 July 1998, Co-President of the French Organising Committee Michel Platini declared that 'No organising committee, whether it be for the World Cup or the Olympic Games, can do without the help of volunteers. They are absolutely essential' (quoted in France 98:16th FIFA-World Cup Press Kit, 1998:43). Following the tradition established at many previous major international sports events (such as the 1994 World Cup in the USA, the Olympics in Atlanta in 1996 and the Winter Olympics in Nagano in 1998) - which we will refer to hereafter in this chapter as sports mega-events - France 98 involved 12,000 volunteers. It was the largest volunteer programme ever undertaken in the country and required considerable planning, training and management (France 98:16th FIFA-World Cup Press Kit, 1998:141).
The logistics and planning involved with the first Asian and first co-hosted World Cup Finals four years later were even more daunting. In the end, a combined total of almost 32,700 official volunteers helped run the 2002 World Cup. These volunteers came from all fields of society, driven by a common desire to contribute to the operation of one of the greatest sporting events in the world. The cohosting of the World Cup provided a reason for more than one married couple to join the ranks of volunteers. Newly-wed Byun Kyu-chang and his Japanese wife Tanabe Kaori worked side by side at the main press center (KOWOC 2003:64). Son Masatora (Chung-In) and his wife Pak Yuriko worked for the International Media Center in Yokohama. Both had been in Japan since 1968. Masatora was born in Korea, the son of the 1936 Olympic gold medallist Son Gi-Jung (referred to in Japanese as Son Kitei), and had come to Japan to attend graduate school. He had held anti-Japanese sentiments for a number of years but he felt that it was a great opportunity to reconcile with the Japanese during the tournament (JAWOC 2002b: 110). Miyazaki Takeshi, a 50-year-old director of a small trading company, had been laid-off from a prestigious company one year before, and his football friends from high school days suggested he should act as a volunteer during the World Cup. He felt that it was a once in a lifetime opportunity to utilise his English language abilities. During the World Cup he was in charge of escorting
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Publication information: Book title: Football Goes East: Business, Culture, and the People's Game in China, Japan, and South Korea. Contributors: Wolfram Manzenreiter - Editor, John Horne - Editor. Publisher: Routledge. Place of publication: New York. Publication year: 2004. Page number: 222.
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