Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, center right, is presented with a Japan national team rugby jersey during a visit to his office Thursday by team captain Michael Leitch, third right, World Rugby Chairman Bill Beaumont and other officials as part of the Webb Ellis trophy tour. Photo: Issei Kato/Pool via AP
rugby world cup 2019

13,000 volunteers ready for Rugby World Cup

7 Comments

Fans can expect plenty of helping hands at the Rugby World Cup starting on Sept 20 as a record-high 13,000 volunteers are set to cover 12 venues across Japan.

They have been named the "Team No-Side," a Japanese rugby term corresponding to the English "full time." The tournament organizers say they want the volunteers to embody the friendly spirit that Japanese rugby has nurtured over the years and convey the message "of seeing the world as one."

Around 38,000 people applied for the planned 10,000 volunteer slots before the tournament organizing committee announced the recruitment of 13,000. The male-female ratio stands at around one to one from a wide-range of generations between 18 and 88.

They will be guiding the fans around the venues as well as at nearby stations, while some will have the chance to work for VIPs like government and business figures from around the world.

Their first training was held in February and March, when they started by learning about the history of the World Cup. Chosen team leaders, tasked with connecting the organizing committee with the volunteers, underwent another course in June as they got to know one another through mini-games while also receiving lectures on cardiac massage.

"I'm getting excited as the World Cup draws closer," said 40-year-old Kumiko Shinohara from Tatebayashi, Gunma Prefecture, who is set to assist operations at Kumagaya Rugby Ground in adjacent Saitama Prefecture where three group games will be played.

"I'd like to learn up close the know-how of running international competitions," Shinohara said. She, like other volunteers, has been undergoing training at actual venues since late August as each of the 12 host sites prepares to welcome fans from around the world with their own hospitality.

The volunteers won't be paid anything, just like those for the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics next summer -- which upon announcement drew criticism from some people, who termed them "black volunteers."

Worse still, the World Cup volunteers won't even be getting prepaid travel cards and will have to pay for their own travel and hotels.

They are, however, supplied with free jackets and polo shirts with the tournament logos on. "It raised my motivation," one volunteer said, while another said, "I'll make it my family heirloom."

Akira Shimazu, the Rugby World Cup 2019 Organizing Committee CEO, is banking on Team No-Side to help make the tournament a success.

"I want them to present the tournament together as the face of the historic first World Cup held in Asia, and enjoy the once-in-a-lifetime experience."

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©2019 GPlusMedia Inc.

7 Comments
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Good on the volunteers, whether they be for the games or for helping clean up after disasters or just even in the neighborhood.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

They have been named the "Team No-Side," a Japanese rugby term 

"no-side" is a standard rugby term.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

I volunteered through a retired Japanese college, who is directly in charge of a financial aspect of the WC.

He apologized that foreigners will not be required over the main priority of college students, I countered with the offer of free English tuition to assist the Japanese volunteers, which he thought would be a great idea. Sadly he came back again apologetically, with, "it wont be required"

1 ( +1 / -0 )

They have been named the "Team No-Side," a Japanese rugby term corresponding to the English "full time."

Hmmm ok. I have a different take on this; 'team no-side' means/could mean that all volunteers will assist & help ALL supporters and do not support any specific NT. ( as opposed to Team US, Team Japan etc, we are 'team no-side/all sides'. sides/teams, sports lingo).

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Jesus wept. What a photo.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

They should at least subsidise the transportation costs. Love the RWC, but lets face it it's already a big commercial success. The event is a sell out, ticket prices were sky high, and the fully priced merchandise push is relentless.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The volunteers won't be paid anything, just like those for the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics next summer -- which upon announcement drew criticism from some people, who termed them "black volunteers."

Worse still, the World Cup volunteers won't even be getting prepaid travel cards and will have to pay for their own travel and hotels.

Wish it total success. But, as early as Jan this yr, the RWC's corporate donations.. not sponsorship was 2/3s of the way to the goal of Y.600,000,000, and weekend trips for the inner circle to ruby matches overseas was told of. I suggested IMO that money would be better spent offering free ticket comps for fans & young player programs to involve them at 1st tier in the buildup. Where it was/is allocated, perhaps the two good old boys in the left of the pic know?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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