Planning an international football tour
A: Start Planning
- Chief of Mission
- What to expect
- Questions to ask
B: Travel Arrangements
- Airline travel
- Customs Regulations
C: What else to take
- Clothing and equipment
- Useful extras
D: The Trip
- Equipment and baggage
- Helpful hints
Travel can be an inspiring, enjoyable and educational experience. It provides the opportunity for athletes to meet and compete with other athletes at a world level, and for coaches and trainers to share ideas. All have the opportunity to develop new friendships and experience the sights, sounds, culture and customs of a foreign land.
However, competing abroad can also be an upsetting experience if the tour members are not prepared for all the new experiences and adjustments that they must face. Therefore, it is important to plan ahead, to try to anticipate all problems and eliminate them so there is the least amount of disruption to the athlete’s performance.
Most aspects of an international sports tour can be organised and planned for in advance, especially if you start with plenty of time. However, there will always be unexpected occurrences and many things you will learn only through experience. It is very important that when things do go wrong, you remain calm; use your resources and, above all else, keep a sense of humour.
- Start Planning:
- Chief of Mission
When first developing a tour, a team manager or Chief of Mission is appointed to take on the responsibility of planning and leading the tour. You must ensure that the person selected has the experience, leadership, and organizational skills for the job.
The duties of the Chief of Mission are:
– To supervise the co-ordination of clothing, equipment, finances, transportation and scheduling.
– To co-ordinate all efforts to meet the needs and desires of the athletes, coaching staff and trainers and to minimize problems (at least in players’ minds!)
– To act as liaison between the Organising Committee and the sports team.
In the words of one manager, “Coaches coach, players play, and the manager does everything else.”
- What to Expect
Talk to all available sources to find out what to expect. These include:
– Other teams or individuals that have travelled overseas;
– Or travelled to the country you are going to;
– To External Affairs Department of your national government;
– University personnel;
– Books and resources in the library;
– Your country’s Consulate or Embassy in the country or area.
If the competition you are entering is very significant and if the country you are travelling to requires major cultural and climatic changes that will affect the performance of your athletes, you may be well advised to send one person on a pre-visit to review the situation. Alternatively, you may wish to set up contact with a reliable person in that country to inform you of all you need to know. The concept of the Olympic Attaché was established because of such needs.
You will want to enquire about food, accommodation, facilities, transportation, training and competition schedules and facilities, certain customs and laws of the country, the geography, language, exchange rates, banking, medical services and so on.