During the WEURO 2017, the so-called ‘Youth Programs’ occupy a relevant position on UEFA’s marketing agenda.
These initiatives pursue two different objectives. On the one hand, offering the participating children a unique experience to live the tournament along with the protagonists. On the other hand, Youth Programs are also an opportunity to increase sponsors visibility. However, this visibility is implicitly being provided through corporate colours on the uniform, with no logo being shown. Why? The ones wearing the uniforms are young boys and girls and, specially, because UEFA’s motto “We care about football” is above every detail.
What types of programmes are being implemented? Up to 5 initiatives allow a total of 71 children, aged between 6 and 14, to feel on the spotlight in the WEURO 2017:
- Player Escorts. They are the ones in charge of accompanying the players from the tunnel to the pitch. On the grass, they witness the national anthems before being the game started. A total of 22 Player Escorts, 11 per team and between 6 and 10 years old, are selected.
- Ball Kids. Their task begins in both teams warming-up and finishes with the final whistle of the match. A total of 12 children between 14 and 18 years old conform Ball Kids team.
- National Team Flag Bearers. The responsibility of the 16 kids, aged between 12 and 16 years old, consists of transporting and displaying the respective national flags. While the anthems sound, the flags are exhibited to the spectators and to the main camera of the tournament.
- Official Match Ball Carrier. Aged from 10 to 14 years old, the girl or boy chosen to wear the official match ball accompanies the referee to the grass. Once the national anthems have concluded, ball handover takes place to let the match begin.
- Center Circle Carriers. The central circle of the pitch is a very visible asset as it is a enormous flag being displayed on TV right before the game. The 20 boys and girls, responsible for carrying it, wave the circular flag when the national anthems sound.
Usually, children with previous relationship with football clubs are strongly considered in order to facilitate the understanding and development of each task.
From my experience in the group stage matches, Youth Programmes may look like an easy protocol to undertake. Nevertheless, every second and minute have they role in the schedule, as the maximum precision and effectiveness is crucial to start the game on time.