5 July 2024 – Düsseldorf

"Goosebump moment" at volunteering experience

As the UEFA EURO 2024 football championships enters the final stages, it is not only the surviving teams who want to stay in it until the end. Behind-the-scenes, a total of 16,000 volunteers have been working hard since before the tournament even began to ensure the continental showpiece runs smoothly. Among them are members of the Organising Committee of the Rhine-Ruhr 2025 FISU World University Games - the next major sporting event in Germany where volunteers will play a key role.

Maksim Berdnikov, Manager Media Services at Rhine-Ruhr 2025, was part of the Ceremony Makers team at EURO 2024. He was one of 150 people who performed the pre-match shows at every game held in Cologne, just before the national anthems were played and the match kicked off - in front of 43,000 fans in the stadium.

"It is a goosebump moment when you stand behind the footballers on the pitch and hear the cheers of thousands of fans," Berdnikov says. He attended all five matches in Cologne and says it took three days of rehearsals to learn the choreography.

Maksim Berdnikov at the stadium in Cologne. ©Maksim Berdnikov

"The ceremony reflects very well the importance of coordination between several people - all the movements are synchronised to the second, and each person's position is checked," explains Berdnikov.

At the EURO 2024, he once again noticed that strong friendships develop among the volunteers within just a few weeks.

Berdnikov is not the only member of the Rhine-Ruhr 2025 FISU World University Games team to volunteer at EURO 2024, gaining invaluable experience ahead of organising the largest multi-sport event in the world next year. Others included: Mirjam Scheffler (Rights Protection), Rose Wignall (Ticketing), Gesine Sprenger (Spectator Host City), Svenja Held (Spectator Lead), Louis Kleemeyer (Spectator Services), Nicole Seddig (Spectator Host City), Michalina Szostek (Media) and Timo Hehl (Sponsoring & Communication).

"We showed the spectators the way to the stadium and around it and answered all kinds of questions. It was great to meet the fans and see their enthusiasm. The volunteers were also highly motivated, so the shifts always went by quickly," says Held.

Many Rhine-Ruhr 2025 employees are working as volunteers at the EURO 2024. © Rhine-Ruhr 2025

"Gaining practical experience is very important when working on the Organising Committee, and the best way to do that is to volunteer,” Berdnikov says. “During the planning phase, which takes place several months before the event, it is important to be able to visualise the event schedule and infrastructure. The best way to do that is to have done it yourself a few times.”

The different areas of work show how varied the opportunities and experiences for volunteers can be. The Rhine-Ruhr 2025 FISU World University Games will also offer a wide range of volunteer programmes, so that interested parties can choose from around 50 areas of work.

The requirements for a successful application are very simple: you must be at least 18 years old on 1 June 2025, speak fluent German or English, and be available for at least four days of the event, which runs from 16 to 27 July 2025.

More information on registering to volunteer at the Rhine-Ruhr 2025 FISU World University Games can be found here: