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Volunteers for Ryder Cup to be hit with £75 charge

NEXT year's Ryder Cup will focus the world's attention on Scotland and bring in hundreds of thousands of spectators.

Paul Lawrie at the cup handover

But the 1800 volunteers now being recruited to help with the smooth running of the money-spinning event at Gleneagles in Perthshire will have to stump up almost £75 for the privilege.

Volunteers are being asked for the fee if they want to offer their free time at the event, which runs from September 26 to 28, 2014.

The 2010 Ryder Cup at Celtic Manor in Wales is estimated to have generated £84 million for the local economy.

Organisers say the fee will cover the cost of providing volunteers with a uniform and food. It will not include travel to and from the rural location, or any other expenses they incur.

Around 250,000 spectators are expected to descend on the area for the event, and organisers say that 1800 volunteers will be needed for duties such as scoreboard carriers, crowd safety marshals, programme sellers and buggy drivers.

Edward Kitson, match director of the competition, said: "The Ryder Cup is a unique event that stirs the passions of players and spectators in a way unlike any other sporting occasion. This makes volunteering at it very special. It's a chance to be a part of history and to welcome the world to Scotland.

"The volunteers at the 2014 Ryder Cup will be the public face of the match. They will be the first and last people our spectators see.

"Naturally, some of the roles require specialist experience and while some knowledge of golf would help, in most cases the main criteria is a positive attitude and genuine desire to be involved in one of the world's great sporting events."

Mr Kitson added: "Ideally our volunteers will be friendly, outgoing, good-humoured and will enjoy helping others."

The tournament between Europe and America's finest golfers will be beamed live around the world and rake in millions in sponsorship and advertising as stars such as Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods go head-to-head.

Scotland was handed the baton of host nation last October when First Minister Alex Salmond received a silver putter at the end of the tournament in the US, which was won by Europe.

The Scottish Government says the Ryder Cup will generate £100m for the local economy in the week of the tournament.

The fee is in sharp contrast to the London 2012 Olympics, where volunteers were not charged for their time.

Likewise, there is no suggestion the 15,000 volunteers being enrolled for the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow will have to pay anything apart from their own travel costs.

Paul McGinley, captain of the 2014 European golf team, is promoting the campaign.

He said: "It takes a huge team of people to make the Ryder Cup a successful event, and the thousands of volunteers involved are a very important part of that.

"We are always appreciative of anyone who gives their time to volunteer and support golf, and there are not many countries in the world better than Scotland for producing volunteers and marshals, whose golf knowledge is second to none."

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