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Press release

Swisscom Games: 2,700 employees compete for sporting honours

10 June 2005

At Swisscom, sport is not only promoted through various sponsoring activities but also actively supported within the company: on 10 and 11 June 2005, some 2,700 employees will meet in Magglingen, Büren an der Aare and St. Blaise to take part in the finals of the first Group-wide Swisscom Games. This Friday afternoon sees the start of the Swisscomathlon in Büren an der Aare, which alone has attracted a line-up of 1,700 athletes including CEO Jens Alder. During the two-day event, another 1,000 athletes who have qualified for the finals will be competing for a place on the winners' podium for their team. Some 300 Swisscom employees are signed up as helpers.

In a move to make the Swisscom Games appeal to as many employees as possible, the company decided on eleven different team disciplines. These include sports such as chess or darts in which youthfulness is less important than intelligence or a steady hand. In addition, the rules stipulate that every team must have a female quota of one third. The Swisscom Games have proved a major hit: Since the countdown in April last year, more than 5,000 employees have taken part in team qualifying heats for a place in the finals. Around 2,700 athletes have made it through to the finals. Tomorrow (Saturday), the winners of each discipline will receive their medals at the close of the Games. The closing ceremony in Magglingen, when prizes will be awarded to the best Group company, will be attended by all active participants as well as Swisscom employees and their families from all over Switzerland.

Focus on the Swisscom team spirit

"The idea behind the Swisscom Games is to promote team spirit and competitive zeal among employees, and strengthen their sense of identity with the company," explains Swisscom CEO Jens Alder, on whose initiative the Games were organised. The Group-wide event underpins the important role the company plays in supporting football and winter sports as well as sports infrastructures and major events. The aim is to leave a lasting impression both inside and outside the company. Talented young athletes will benefit from the proceeds of a raffle in aid of Swiss Sports Aid. And Magglingen, the venue for the Games, is more than a symbolic choice." The excellent cooperation with the Federal Office for Sport shows that our decision about the venue was absolutely spot-on," emphasises Swisscom's CEO.

Comprehensive infrastructure with giant marquee

Preparations for this major event have been under way for the past three weeks: A huge marquee has been erected (the largest ever set up in Switzerland), together with infrastructure to meet the needs of at least 5,000 people. Signs have been posted at the various competition locations, and storage or parking facilities provided for sports equipment. Today (Friday) and tomorrow (Saturday) the catering facilities for participants and visitors will be set up. Information, advice and sports entertainment will be provided by the Games Village, where Swisscom Games partners will be offering their services.

Accommodation is being provided for all of the 3,000 athletes and helpers in the communities of Biel, Grenchen, Lengnau and Saint-Blaise, as well as in athlete accommodation and a tent village in Magglingen. Added to this, between 1,500 and 2,500 spectators, relatives and guests are expected on Saturday. Food and drink for all these visitors will be provided by additional refreshment stands as well as the existing restaurants.

The organisers have collaborated with local fire services, the Biel city police and the cantonal police, who will be on hand to ensure safety and security. Special attention was paid to transport and traffic arrangements ahead of the Games: A shuttle service will ferry participants and visitors between Biel, the various competition venues and locations where overnight accommodation has been provided. Swisscom has qualified for the "Prix Ecosport" and is using local resources as far as possible.

Illustrious guests and sporting VIPs

UN Ambassador for Sport Adolf Ogi and ex-Federal Councillor Ruth Metzler-Arnold will attend the Swisscom Games as honorary guests. In her new function as President of the Swiss Sports Aid Foundation, Ruth Metzler-Arnold will be accepting a cheque from Swisscom to support the foundation's activities. Sporting VIPs such as Silvan Zurbriggen and Simon Ammann are also expected to attend the Swisscom Games. One of the sporting highlights is on Saturday, when a demo chess match is scheduled between Swiss Grand Master Joe Gallagher and the highest Swiss national on the world chess rankings, Yannick Pelletier.

Berne, 10 June 2005


Swisscom AG
Media Relations
3050 Bern