At first, the task might sound absurd, if not impossible. Organise a game of football in the middle of the Alps? On the Jungfraujoch, 3454 metres above sea level, right next to Europe's highest-altitude railway station? Our answer: yes. Given an excellent reason to hold a game at such dizzying heights – one year to go before the kick-off of the UEFA EURO 2008 in Switzerland and Austria – it was a historical timeframe in fact.
This particular football game was to be played on a grass pitch 15 x 30 metres wide. Two teams, each led by one of the two renowned Swiss national coaches, Köbi Kuhn and Josef Hickelsberger, were to play each other in two match-ups each lasting two five-minute halves. But not only that – after a gala dinner, 430 invited guests had to be transferred smoothly and without delay from the Kursaal in Interlaken all the way up to the Jungfraujoch to enjoy the spectacle.
THOMAS GURTNER in charge of supervision and synchronisation of the entire project.
Initially, THOMAS GURTNER gathered in-depth information from all parties involved, including the UEFA EURO 2008 organisers, Swiss Tourist Office and Jungfrau Railways. Subsequently, a detailed analysis of the gathered information enabled THOMAS GURTNER to compile a complete list of goals crucial to the event’s organisation and transportation – simultaneously a sound implementation concept was created. A considerable challenge was ahead: that required excellent logistical experience and skills: The ambitious goal to set up a football pitch almost 3,500 metres above sea level and the plan to accommodate more than 430 guests in 30 hotels at the same venue. All part of the services offered by THOMAS GURTNER!
In phase 2, the first practical steps were taken: THOMAS GURTNER contracted a series of reliable service providers in signage and exhibition management, linked their various proficiencies in terms of design, production and installation. Unnecessary delays and overlaps, were avoided.and the project was up and running.
Phase 3 entailed the actual construction period and, moreover, prudent supervision and coordination of the various ongoing preparatory processes up in the mountains at the Jungfraujoch. This included operations on behalf of the three major stakeholder and all other involved parties, as well as the synchronisation and unification of their diverse interests. THOMAS GURTNER succeeded at not leaving any doubt to the guests that all that had been smoothly brought under one roof. The fact that the guests hardly noticed that construction of the high-altitude football pitch was tied into the event’s overall organisation was only one pleasant side-effect.
If the outcome of any big occasion could be assessed by the drawn media attention, then staging an alpine football game at the Jungfraujoch was a true success. The spectacular concept caused media representatives from numerous branches to come, see and report – the echo was correspondingly large. Both national and foreigns TV stations, newspapers and sport portals extensively covered the event.
Moreover, three coordination meetings throughout the implementation of the event, concluded effortlessly and all event-related organisational procedures were executed smoothly despite the differing interests of the groups involved. Mission accomplished!