“I pay attention to everything unexpected”

"I pay attention to everything unexpected"

When the Luxembourg team is on the road, he is never far away. Louis da Costa, the game manager of “Root Live” since the end of 2015, has been one of the invisible people essential to the smooth running of football games. His job is to prepare everything related to the national team’s games and to act as a link between UEFA, Luxembourg and the rival. Sometimes he talks to the bus driver, sometimes he sends reports to the European Committee. “I notice something unexpected,” says the 32-year-old, who studied economics in Strasbourg.

On Saturday morning, hours before the match against Ireland, he was at Aviva Stadium to discuss the details of the evening. “Before every game, we meet with representatives of the other team and UEFA. We agree on a lot of things about the color of the team jersey, the referees, the ball boys. When each team arrives at the stadium, we decide when they will be on the field, and we even pick a date if the game has to be postponed, ”said Costa.

“Initially it was very stressful, but over time I got used to it.”

When organizing a match, UEFA needs to know all the details related to the match. “For example, when players in Luxembourg and Ireland decided to kneel down on Saturday before kicking off, this was mentioned in the game pre-briefing,” he explains. Meanwhile, Da Costa already had the next match against Portugal in mind. “I’m more busy between home games,” says Da Costa, who will then be the actual director of the evening. Everything must be perfect from the moment the players arrive at the stadium. “If the game starts more than a minute late, it will be fined by UEFA,” says the game manager.

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When a big team like Portugal goes to Luxembourg, security around the game gives them most of their jobs. “Initially it was very stressful, but I used it for years,” says Dr. Costa. As the Luxembourg Football Association (FLF) learned an hour before the Luxembourg-Spain game that singer Shakira will take part in the game, the unexpected could always happen by the end of 2014.

(Essential / Nicholas Grellier)

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