As a BA (Hons) Football Coaching & Management student, Plamen Pantev has secured a role leading a team of mobility makers at Wembley Stadium for Euro 2020. From greeting guests to organising logistics on match days, he’s helping to ensure the event runs smoothly and safely while being immersed in the heart of the action. Here, the UCFB Wembley student tells us about working at the tournament and who he suspects will take home the silverware…

Tell us about your role as Lead Mobility Maker at the tournament and what this entails.

After such a long wait it is fantastic to be involved in one of the biggest events in the world. In 2019, after an interview with UEFA, I was lucky enough to be shortlisted for the role of Lead Mobility Maker based on the personal skills and experiences I have gained while working a variety of customer service jobs.

The mobility makers team is perhaps one of the most important voluntary teams as we are the first to meet the guests at the last kilometre around the iconic Wembley Stadium. Therefore, for us it is extremely important that we greet the fans and provide five-star customer experience for everyone that is attending the game. Our work also includes giving vital information, such as how and where to get their COVID-19 tests done and ensuring they have their tickets ready to encourage the fastest route towards their seats at the stadium with the best experience possible.

How have you found leading a team of volunteers at the tournament?

As a team leader, I have the responsibility to ensure that all volunteers within my team are briefed four hours before the game with the information required for their specific location. Part of my role is also to ensure the health and safety of people, report any hazards discovered and produce the end of shift report to ensure the experience for the next match day is even better. This experience will also support my personal development and increase my networking.

What has the atmosphere been like with crowds returning to stadiums after so long?

It’s exciting! Watching the fans cheering, singing and celebrating when their team wins is an amazing feeling. The legendary Jock Stein said it best: “Football is nothing without fans”. However, I would appreciate seeing more fans at the stadium when it’s safe to do so - there is nothing better than 90,000 fans at Wembley!

How have your three years at UCFB helped prepare you for the role?

Being an ambassador for UCFB has equipped me with communication skills that are vital when working as a team leader, where I have the responsibility of communicating with everyone else around me. Part of my studies included managing individuals within a team, but also promoting leadership within a team to ensure a high-performance environment. Therefore, my studies at UCFB have prepared me to react in the best possible manner in almost every possible scenario.

As an international student, what do you make of UEFA hosting the tournament in 12 countries for the first time in history?

I find it an amazing opportunity for a lot of countries to host such an event. This will boost the economy of those countries but also the social capital and morale following the difficult months of the COVID-19 lockdown that everyone experienced. Perhaps there should be support towards smaller nations to allow them to build better facilities and give them the chance to host the Euros in the future. I certainly hope that Bulgaria will have that chance soon, so I can represent my country and UCFB there!

Lastly, who do you think is going to win and why?

It’s very difficult to predict. I want England to win, which will show the great job done by The FA, the Premier League and every coach from the grassroots level to the highest professional level on and off the pitch. However, I also think Belgium can do something special at Euro 2020!