Swiss Show The World How To Run A Football Tournament

swiss-flag.jpgMiami is not known for good road signage. I’ve lived near the city for 24 years and I still get confused when I go downtown looking for the I-95 on-ramp. It’s not that the signage is poor. In some places, it simply doesn’t even exist.In Switzerland, it’s an entirely different story. From the moment I arrived in Zurich this past Sunday morning up until the time I left on Tuesday, my entire Euro 2008 experience was, as one French fan who saw me wearing a Dutch shirt after the win against Italy described, superb.Everything was so well organized. At the airport, there was an information bureau for Euro 2008 with volunteers answering questions. The airport was quiet when I arrived on Sunday morning, so five people worked together to answer my one question. Embarrassingly, they couldn’t answer it. The question was whether cameras were allowed in the stadium. They didn’t know and couldn’t find the answer. I later found out that the answer was yes, they were allowed but only for non-business purposes.What impressed me the most about Switzerland was their train service. Everything ran perfectly on time. After the Holland match, there was one incident at a train station which made me smile. One of the fans was standing in the doorway which prevented the electronic doors from closing. He was playing a cat and mouse game, and he was winning.A couple of minutes later, obviously incensed by the fact that the train was delayed and – god forbid – the service was off schedule, I saw a Swiss train employee sprint down the platform and verbally abuse the fan inside the doorway. It was the first and only time during my entire trip where I saw a Swiss person lose their cool.I don’t know whose idea it was, but there was one policy that I’m still completely stunned by its brilliance. Anyone holding a match ticket was allowed free transportation within Switzerland (and presumably Austria) on any train, tram or bus on the day of the match and up to Noon the following day.All you had to do was to walk on to any train, tram or bus and you were guaranteed free transportation. No ticket needed. This made traveling to and from matches a breeze. Imagine having to queue with several thousand fans to get a ticket to go on a train and how much chaos that would have created, just as one example.By allowing the free transportation, it made the experience easier for the football fan, ensured that trains arrived and departed on time, encouraged supporters to travel more freely around the country (and to spend more money in other cities because they saved money by not having to buy the transportation tickets in the first place).Everything else was also run smoothly. After the Fan Zones ended each night, the areas and streets nearby were littered with trash from the fans. But by nine the next morning, the streets were immaculate after the cleaning crews had cleaned everything up in the early hours of the morning.Throughout Bern and Zurich, there were plenty of police and security presence as well as helpful Euro 2008 volunteers wearing sky blue shirts to help answer questions.All of the Swiss people I met too were polite and helpful. Life in Switzerland seems so laid back in comparison to the United States. While Switzerland is filled with ancient buildings, the newer ones all seem very modern (the Zurich airport is one of the most beautiful ones I’ve ever visited).Maybe all that money that the United States spends on weapons and the military could be better invested in its own country instead by fixing the infrastructure such as roads, bridges and signage? The Swiss system obviously seems to be working much better


  1. Hudsonland June 12, 2008
  2. damir June 12, 2008
  3. Kartik June 12, 2008
  4. Jeff Hash June 12, 2008
  5. Dignan June 12, 2008
  6. LemmusLemmus June 12, 2008
  7. The Gaffer June 12, 2008
  8. Kartik June 12, 2008
  9. TT June 12, 2008
  10. Pingback: EuroDose: June 12th ‘08 - Euro 2008 June 12, 2008
  11. Leonard Okoth February 1, 2010

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