Strategic Meetings Summit London, 26 September,
September 29 2022, Kimpton Fitzroy London
Friday 30 September 2022, JW Marriott Grosvenor
While millions of Englishmen sweat over the broken bone in Wayne Rooney's foot, Evelyn Schmidt has had worries on a far grander scale.
Ms Schmidt is the project manager for the Travel and Events Services department especially set up for the World Cup by HRG Germany and its long time partner, the German Football Association (DFB).
Its job is simply to provide the transport requirements of those attending the tournament which starts in less than a month in Germany. This includes the 32 teams, officials, sponsors, media and fans. Basically providing travel arrangements for millions of people, including VIPs.
Transport will range from private charter jets, scheduled services, trains, shuttles buses, hired cars and chauffeured limousines.
There are an estimated 3,000,000 people, mainly fans, who will be involved in the great tournament, with about 1,000,000 arriving from outside Germany.
Accommodation for this vast army is the responsibility of a joint venture sent up by HRG Germany, French hotel company Accor and Byrom, a UK company. The last also has sole responsibility for the hotels for all of the FIFA delegates arriving from across the world for the event.
It is not just the sheer numbers – thousands of hotel rooms will be used each night – but the complexity of making sure teams, officials, sponsors, media and fans get to the right city on the right day as the tournament progresses. It's a mass of facts, figures and, above all, details.
It has been a huge task to organise and work began seven years ago, before Germany was officially awarded the tournament in 2000.
"We were asked in 1999 with regard to the application for the World Cup to provide FIFA with a list of the accommodation we have in Germany. So in 1999 we started to contact all the hotels in the 12 venues where the games will be played.
"Then when Germany was successful with its application, we started with the organisation for the World Cup," Ms Schmidt said.
The office both for accommodation and for Travel and Events is based in Frankfurt and started with two people. There are now 60, with 35 working in accommodation and 25 in travel and events.
“Previously the FIFA had only been interested in accommodation. But the Organisation Committee (which is in overall charge of all arrangements and headed by German football legend Franz Beckenbauer) wanted to make it a time to make friends and to be a real host.
"So besides the beds, they wanted a travel resource – how to get from venue A to venue B and to organise events for the visitors."
They have also worked closely with the various local organising committees (LOCs) which look after the events and games in their own areas. It is the LOCs which worked with Ms Schmidt's staff to find the "base camps" which the teams will use in the qualifying stages.
"Colleagues worked with these committees to choose the base camps. It took two and a half years to visit all the possible contenders.
"Each team has a different view. Some want to stay in cities, others want a calm atmosphere with no press and no public so we had to look at the whole range," Ms Schmidt said.
"We started this in 2002 but in 2006 we monitored them again to see if the hotels chosen were still of the same standard."
Getting the teams around the country also requires major organisation. For shorter distances, players are likely to travel from their hotel to the ground by coach. But for longer distances, they are likely to travel, for security reasons, by charter flights and then by coach to the grounds – all of which the Travel and Events team has to organise.
The fans on packages tours are likely to go by bus, train or plane, whichever is the most appropriate.
There will also be the Germany-based fans of overseas countries to deal with. For example there are about 4,500 Brazilians in Cologne and 3,500 Mexicans in Dusseldorf.
But with the tournament soon to be underway, will Ms Schmidt get the chance to see any of the games?
"I will be based in Frankfurt and as soon as there are any problems, I will be there as a floating trouble-shooter. I would like to see the games but I am not sure if I can. Our first concern is for the client.
"If you have 1000 people arriving by bus, you have to check everyone is there and knows where the bus will be when you leave. You have to check all the details," she said.