About 30 000 people applied for a volunteer position during the 2012 football championship in June. And I am not going to criticise any one of them. They had various motivation. It is understandable that they wanted to take part in adventure, particularly if it could take place in interesting location such as stadiums. It is also to some extent understandable that they want to feel like ‘hosts’ which is one of the slogans of ‘feeling-good’ propaganda led by host cities. However, after giving it some thought, I decided to distance myself from the politically correct vision of the Euro 2012 and its slogans such as ‘it is our common celebration’, ‘we are responsible for our country’s image abroad’ or ‘we are all hosts’. The Euro 2012 is a huge, expensive and above all commercial event organised by the UEFA that will get enormous profits from it. This alone should provoke question to which point cutting costs by its organisers can be justifiable. In my opinion, asking volunteers to help with a commercial event is not fair. If the UEFA earns a great deal of money from this championship, then it can afford fair payment for those who are working hard in heat all-day long.
The idea of volunteering is noble but only when effort and time of volunteers supports the right goal. Without any doubt, everybody agrees that helping by charity events is beautiful and needed act. When we help children, people who are ill or poor, we invest our efforts in the right way. The reason behind this is that because we are not getting paid, more money can be used to directly support the worthy goal of action. However, if we help a big corporation to maximise its profits or we show young, healthy and independent people the way from one bar to another and then help them to get back to hotel because they are so drunk that they don’t even know in which country they are, there is nothing noble in it. Just profits for one group, and good fun for the other. And when we think how those efforts could be used, it seems like nothing but a huge waste.
Nowadays, when getting a job becomes harder and harder, the unemployment in Europe is rising and the future perspectives for young people are not particularly pinkie, every job, even part-time, means a lot. Therefore, I believe that the UEFA policy of exploiting volunteers, instead of employing low-paid temporary workers, is unethical. And we all should show our highest disapproval against it.
Of course, from the economic point of view, it is really easy to see why the UEFA does it. Why would anybody pay for something one can get for free? If there are so many people who want (and could afford) to work this number of hours for 3-4 weeks for free, because they believe in a positive image of championship, it doesn’t come as a surprise that the UEFA is going to use them. People who are harmed by this agreement are those who would like to do this job but have to earn their living, also in June, and those who are in need of work.
So live your adventure, my dear friends, be ‘a part of something special’ and please don’t negate that you are being exploited by people whose only job is to sit and watch matches in VIP sections and to banquet until dawn and who will earn millions for it (actually, it is interesting, how many of the UEFA members would agree to work so hard for nothing or, in the best case, a T-shit and a baseball cup with a beloved logo of something…). Euro 2012 shows that society consists of three groups of people: crafty followers, people exploited by them and victims of cunning. It is the best to belong to the first group. And the worst is to be an unaware member of the second.
Translation: Katarzyna Toruńska