1,500 Participants of the Football for Friendship Programme From Over the World will come to Moscow in June
MOSCOW, 25 April 2018. – Today, the International Day of Football and Friendship has been celebrated in over 200 cities of the world with special events to promote friendship, mutual respect and healthy living. Tens of thousands of children and adults are participating in friendly matches, open training sessions, flash mobs and sporting events. On this day, everyone who shares such important human values as equality, respect for different cultures and peaceful coexistence ties a blue-and-green friendship bracelet on his/her wrist as a symbol of the Gazprom International Children's social Programme Football for Friendship. The blue thread stands for a peaceful sky, and the green one is a football field open to everyone. The participants have been supported by famous footballers, coaches, television hosts, actors and members of government agencies all over the world.
In Brazil, a reception dedicated to the International Day of Football and Friendship was held at the Russian Embassy, where young programme members presented friendship bracelets to the Ambassadors of 27 Latin American countries. In Algeria, young sportsmen held a spring cleaning at one of the largest municipal football stadiums to pay respect to the Football for Friendship's key values, followed by two friendly matches between local children and the programme's Young Ambassadors. Senegal, which took part in the programme for the first time this year, held a press conference featuring a legend of Senegalese football, Amara Traoré, as well as officials from the country's Ministry of Sport. In Germany Young Ambassadors of the programme met with the famous players of the Shalke 04 Football Club Amine Harit and Weston McKennie and tied them the friendship bracelets. In Kazakhstan, the holiday coincided with the Day of Kazakhstani Football. On this festive day, an open match of the legendary Kairat football club was held, and the famous footballers got friendship bracelets. In Serbia, a TV program dedicated to the International Day of Football and Friendship was aired, with famous actor and host Milan Kalinic, a big fan of Crvena Zvezda FC, presenting young Serbian members of the project. In South Africa, the youth football academy Young Bafana held a friendly beach football match, and before that, a golf competition – after all, real friendship is possible in any sport.
Talented children from all over the world are participating in the new season of the Football for Friendship programme. For instance, Yazan Taha, 12, a Young Journalist, popular blogger and football co-commentator from Syria, became a member of the International Children's Press Center. One of the Young Coaches is Sofia Bazhenova, a Russian football player with the girls' junior team U-16, winner of the Russian Futsal Championship. Among the Young Footballers in the programme is Poadey Sébastien from New Caledonia, one of the pearls of Oceania, who has played football since he was 4 and is one of the youngest players in his national team, Stade de Koniambo Football Club.
«This year I am very lucky to have the chance to participate in the Football for Friendship program. Their core values mean a lot to me, especially equality, fairness and victory. No one can live in harmony without sharing them! I’m happy that soon I will see Russia for the first time, and there I will get acquainted with new friends and will develop my skills. It is a great honor and responsibility for me to represent my country during the programme. I am excited», said Bennett Wehibe, a Young Ambassador of Football for Friendship from the USA.
«Football is my passion from childhood! I cannot imagine my life without sports and my friends. I`m sure that thanks to the Football for Friendship programme I will make one more step on the way to my dream of becoming a professional footballer», added Swan Drame, a Young Ambassadorof Football for Friendship from France.
«I believe that football unites wide variety of people, because there are no limits for real friendship, the main thing is kindness and tenderness. I really want to become a famous football player so that my country could be proud of me», Jadidi Meuuo Ndombuki, a Young Ambassador of Football for Friendship from Kenya shared his emotions.
«It is wonderful that the names of the Young Ambassadors of the programme's new season were announced today, on International Day of Football and Friendship. I can say that the players from Tanzania are eager to share their excitement about their participation in the project with children from different countries. I wholeheartedly wish all the young sportspeople good luck and an experience of a lifetime in Moscow», said Emanuel Saakai, CEO of the Tanzanian academy, Lengo Football Academy and Football for Friendship coordinator in Tanzania.
The first International Day of Football and Friendship was announced by the Young Ambassadors of Gazprom Football for Friendship programme in 2014.
Over the years, the events have featured famous football players, including Serbian defender Branislav Ivanovic and Russian goalkeeper Yuri Lodygin from Zenit (Saint Petersburg), as well as Dutch striker Dirk Kuyt from Feyenoord (Rotterdam) and the winner of the Euro 2004, Theodoros Zagorakis, from the Greek national football team.
A total of over 500,000 people have taken part in events connected to the International Day of Football and Friendship. The holiday has been supported by hundreds of football players: global football legend Franz Beckenbauer (Germany), one of the strongest strikers in African history, Didier Drogba (Côte d'Ivoire), famous Madrid Real defender Michel Salgado (Spain), former Arsenal London player Andrey Arshavin (Russia), ex-leader of the Portuguese national team Vitor Baia and other stars.
Gazprom's International Children's social programme Football for Friendship was launched in 2013. The project brings together boys and girls of different nationalities and physical abilities. Its aim is to develop children's football and foster in children from different places respect for other cultures and nationalities. The key values sustained and promoted by the programme's participants are friendship, equality, justice, health, peace, devotion, victory, tradition and honour.
International press-center of the Gazprom International Children`s social programme
Football for Friendship
Mobile phone: +7 (916) 651-01-33