The soccer World Cup is a sporting event that moves and unites the whole world, regardless of our cultural differences and language barriers. Sport is something that we can all understand and enjoy.
However, during sports events the presence of bilingual or trilingual staff is necessary, as both delegations and fans speak different languages. Also, FIFA has English, Spanish, French, and German as official languages.
Which languages do the teams speak?
According to the amount of participating countries, most of them speak Spanish (Argentina, Colombia, Panama, Costa Rica, Mexico, Peru, Spain, Uruguay); four teams have Arabic as their official language (Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Morocco and Tunisia); three speak English (Australia, England and Nigeria); two speak French (France and Senegal); two speak Portuguese (Brazil and Portugal); and two speak German (Germany and Switzerland). As for the remaining delegations, they speak only one language: Russian, Japanese, Polish, Korean, Swedish, Serbian, Croatian, Icelandic, Persian, Danish, and Belgian.
This implies that during this time Russia has received tourists who speak different languages and has had to mobilize and organize a large number of volunteers and workers with knowledge of English (mostly).
What languages do the referees speak?
For those who do not know, part of the FIFA rules indicate that a match between two countries should be whistled by a referee who does not come from either of the two nations, in order to maintain neutrality and transparency in the work of arbitration.
And of course, communicating their decisions in this work to both the players and the coaching staff is fundamental, so many referees speak English. However, the only official language of the arbitrators is the rules, meaning that verbal communication in the field is not as important as the gestures they use.
Other services during the World Cup?
While it is true that Russia is a country where most of its population does not speak English, although they consider it an important language, there are other popular languages such as German and Spanish.
It is likely that if you take a taxi or go to the supermarket you can not communicate in English or any language other than Russian. Today, however, young people are more willing to learn languages, especially in large cities. There are many language academies, bilingual schools, and English is an obligatory language in the curriculum of some of the country’s universities.
Taking advantage of this motivation in young Russians, they have required bilingual staff for vacancies in the subway and tourist attractions, museums, and of course, the volunteers are bilingual.
As for security, despite the fact that the Moscow Emergency Service already has English-speaking staff, a department of Spanish and German-speaking interpreters was also created, which is available 24 hours a day during these special dates.
Now you know what an event of this magnitude implies in terms of language requirements, volunteers, FIFA staff, and the facilities offered by the host country to tourists. And if you decide to attend the 2022 soccer World Cup, you can already assume, in general terms, how the issue will be dealt with to minimize language barriers.