“Logistics is all about teamwork,” says Sybille Paeper. The 31-year-old German has been in charge of logistics at FIFA for nearly two years, managing a team of 12 employees from five continents – all of whom are men. “That’s probably because of the physical work that we do here, but there’s no reason why a woman can’t do it,” says Sybille at the Home of FIFA, where her ground-floor office adjoins the storage and production rooms of her department.
Today is no different to any other: jobs of every variety are in progress here. “We enjoy dealing with people from around the world every day – it’s why we’re here.” Those who benefit from this enjoyment are not only those colleagues at FIFA who send goods and printed materials via the Logistics Department to all four corners of the world, but also the recipients of these deliveries. “Every year, we send out 800 packages of course materials alone, weighing a total of 150 tonnes, such as for the Development or Refereeing Departments,” says Sybille. “We are an internal service provider for all of FIFA’s divisions.”
However, ensuring that a delivery actually reaches its destination is not always straightforward. “What can we import, and what can’t we? Which documents are needed for customs, how long does it take for clearance? What are the airlines’ rules with regard to batteries or the vanishing spray used by referees?” explains Sybille. “That’s why each day is different, because you never know quite what to expect at the office.”
There are also jobs to be performed in-house, such as the courier service for the internal post or the courier deliveries needed for communications involving FIFA’s member associations. The Logistics Department also handles small print runs using its high-tech printer, such as for FIFA regulations or documents for meetings.
“At an event like a FIFA tournament, we’re the first to arrive and the last to leave,” says Sybille. It is also not unknown for her to make a phone call in the middle of the night due to the time difference. But what makes the job enjoyable for her? Sybille tells FIFA 1904 about a business trip she took to Saint Petersburg. “My personal highlight was the Preliminary Draw for the World Cup there. I took the World Cup Trophy with me and was responsible for looking after it, it was quite an experience!” A German TV news station filmed her polishing the trophy before the draw. “My friends said, ‘So that’s what you do at FIFA!’” If only they knew.
FIFA’s monthly magazine, FIFA 1904, provides insight into working at FIFA. Each edition includes FIFA team member profiles under the titles ‘Faces of FIFA’ (short interviews with three team members) and ‘A day in the life of’ (a more complete look into a day with a selected team member).
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