To ensure that everyone gets the most out of a smooth UEFA club competition match, a great deal of work is done up front to ensure that every team, every match and every broadcaster receives the same high level of service.
In this article by Engelbert Strauss, we’ve found out how UEFA ensures that all equipment needed for a UEFA Europa League or UEFA Europa Conference League match ends up in the right place at the right time.
For the UEFA event team, the start of the group stage is not in September, but in July. That’s when she has assembled all the equipment that will be needed for the upcoming season and bring it to UEFA’s 12,000 square meter central warehouse in Belgium. “From the headquarters in Nyon, we have to coordinate and plan the sweep of the carriers,” explains Cédric Girardet, UEFA Events Logistics Supervisor. “Once the draw is known and the schedule is published, we have to bring all the trucks to the warehouse in Belgium and load them up ready to go to matches across Europe.
A fleet of forty trucks delivers UEFA Europa League and UEFA Europa Conference League group stage materials to venues across the continent, not just crowd-visible items such as stadium signs and press conference signs. “(The trucks) also carry sponsor equipment, office equipment, as well as equipment you don’t necessarily see on TV — the VAR console or the LED panel console.”
Once the materials are delivered to the venue, it is the responsibility of the UEFA and Broadcasting Operations Managers (VOBMs) to ensure that everything is in place. “We usually get to the site a couple of days before the game, but the fact is that (the work) starts before,” explains Thomas Attal, one of the VOBMs. “We want to make sure that the product we offer for stadium matches is delivered to other venues where matches are played that night and that it meets the requirements of UEFA and our partners.”
Maintaining consistent image quality and image in every match presents a major logistical challenge. To meet this, UEFA experts are teeming with plans (B) to hit the road at any time, day or night, explains Mr Girardet.
“Although the warehouse in Belgium is a relatively central location, the big challenge is the distances, because sometimes we have to travel to distant countries and this poses many problems, like the roads themselves. The same and everything related to customs,” he adds. “If all the trucks arrive on time for each match of the season and with their equipment, then we can say that the logistical task is going well.”