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211 countries and regions took part in the Sixth International Football for Friendship Children’s Forum

Moscow, June 14, 2018. Yesterday the Sixth International Football for Friendship Children’s Forum was held in Moscow as a part of the Gazprom International Children’s social programme Football for Friendship in official partnership with FIFA and FIFA World Cup 2018™.

The Sixth Season of the programme was unique in its scale, as this year, 211 countries and regions worldwide participated in the event, representing 6 global continents: Europe, Asia, Africa, Australia and Oceania, North America and South America.

1,500 children and their caregivers from around the world took part in the Forum. The total number of participants and guests topped 5,000. The Forum was attended by boys and girls including with disabilities as Young Players, Young Journalists and Young Coaches. All of them were united by a single common mission: the promotion of human values, such as friendship, equality, fairness, health, peace, devotion, victory, traditions, honour.

The representatives of the Administration of the President of the Russian Federation, Russian Olympic Committee, FIFA, Heads of the Football Federations, football stars, Olympic and Paralympic Champions, public figures became the honored guests of the event. Iker Casillas, aSpanish football player, goalkeeper and captain of Portu (Porugal) greeted the young participants of the Football for Friendship programme. Head Coach of the Russian junior team Alexander Kerzhakov, Syrian football player Firas Al-Khatib as well as Prince, Administrative Director at the Saudi Arabian Football Federation Abdulrahman Bin Ibrahim Al-Sayyar, also addressed to the children.

The Chairman of the Board of Directors of Gazprom Viktor Zubkov has opened the Forum. Deputy Prime Minister of the Russian Federation Olga Golodets presented a festive speech of the Russian President Vladimir Putin to the participants of the Sixth International Children’s Forum: «This year, the final events of the programme take place in special atmosphere since very soon Russia will host FIFA World Cup 2018 and meet our planet’s strongest athletes. On the eve of this significant event the Young Players from 211 countries and regions come together to Moscow to show their talents and skills in a fair tournament, learn something new from famous football stars and meet their peers. I strongly believe that such large-scale initiatives as Football for Friendship carry out an important mission. They support youth sports, promote values of a healthy lifestyle, teach children to respect representatives of different nationalities and cultures».

This year’s winner of the children’s voting for the reception of the main award of the programme, the Nine Values Cup, was announced at the Forum. Among the 32 national teams, participating in the World Cup, young participants of the Football for Friendship have chosen the Brazilian national team as the team that most fully meets the values of the programme. The top three also included teams from Russia and Germany.

Within the framework of the International Football for Friendship Children’s Forum the World premiere of the book by the Young Ambassador of the programme, Ananya Kamboj from India, was held. Inspired by the last season, where she took part as the leading Young Journalist of the International Children’s Press Center, the girl wrote her own book, «My journey from Mohali to St. Petersburg», where she tells about the most important human values, helping to change the world for the better.

The Forum was held at the center of oceanography and marine biology «Moskvarium» - a unique complex, the largest indoor oceanarium in Europe. During the show the children were able to see the marine inhabitants at arm's length. This year, the ecological initiative of the Football for Friendship programme is devoted to attracting public attention to the problems of extinction of rare species of animals.

For the entire period of the final events of the programme, that are taking place between 8th and 15th of June, environmental-friendly routes of friendship were launched: four buses on gas engine fuel were headed by convoys of vehicles carrying international delegations. This helps to significantly reduce the air pollution.

Traditionally in 2018 the International Day of Football and Friendship has been celebrated. On April 25, 180 cities of all the world`s continents hosted events for the promotion of friendship, mutual respect and a healthy lifestyle. Tens of thousands of children and adults took part in friendly matches, open training sessions, flash mobs and sports celebrations, and everyone who shared these essential human values tied the official symbol of the programme - the Friendship Bracelet around their wrists. The participants were supported by the famous footballers, coaches, television hosts, actors and members of the government agencies from all over the world.

At the beginning of the season, based on the results of the Open Draw, 32 International Football Teamsof Friendship were formed and named after rare and endangered animals, along with the positions of each Young Footballer (goalkeeper, back, halfback and forward) from 211 countries and regions. The teams formed under the «football for friendship» principle helped the children of various nationalities and cultures to find common ground and make compromises in the name of common victory.

As a part of the final events of the Sixth Season prior to the FIFA World Cup, 32 International Teams of Friendshipplayed in Moscow at the 2018 Football for Friendship World Championship. Chimpanzee won the 1st place, a team consisting of the children from Dominica, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Malawi, Columbia, Benin and the Congo DR, in other words meaning that the Friendship was the ultimate winner. After all, the most important thing is not the language, background, or gender, but mutual respect, understanding and support.

All the football events of the Sixth Season of the Football for Friendship programme were also covered by the Young Journalists from the International Children's Press Center. These children had a chance not only to work as correspondents taking part in a live sports broadcasts, but also to learn from the well-known journalists representing the leading Russian sports media outlets as a part of their workshops. The Young Journalists prepared the news together for the most important international media, published daily issues of the children's Football for Friendship newspaper, wrote diaries, and posted on social media. The materials were prepared in 62 languages.

During the preparation to the Football for Friendship World Championship and 2018 International Football for Friendship Children’s Forum, the children and adults from all over the world took part in the three-day International Friendship Camp in Moscow. The following events took place as a part of the Camp: workshops with the world football stars, football training sessions led by Young Coaches, game lessons at the Nine Values School, including those dedicated to the Ecological mission of the programme, Olympic lessons with the Russian football stars, speeches from the representatives of the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), as well as the speakers from the UN Sustainable Development Goals Programme supported by the Football for Friendship project.

Today all the young participants of the Sixth Season of the Football for Friendship programme visited the Opening ceremony and the match of 2018 FIFA World Cup 2018.

«I am glad to welcome all the participants, organizers and spectators of the Forum. Children gathered here and united under the aegis of such a wonderful game as football, regardless of their nationality. The greatest achievement of the project is that young participants really became friends. Such humanitarian projects help people to understand each other», said the Deputy Prime Minister of the Russian Federation Olga Golodets.

«Gazprom being one the most social-oriented company in the world has always been supporting the promotion of children’s sports. Football is the most popular sport and I think it fits the best in order to unite people on the basis of values that are close to each person on our Planet, no matter what country they live in and what language they speak. This is the possibility for the children to find new friends, to learn, progress and achieve success in sports together. Today the delegates from 211 countries and regions come here to participate in this event. In comparison to 2013, when we started Football for Friendship programme, the geography of the project increased 26 times. Over the past five years more than 4,000 kids took part in the programme. While the total number of supporters of Football for Friendship exceeded three million people», said the Chairman of the Board of Directors of Gazprom Viktor Zubkov,

«I am glad to participate in the final events of the Sixth Season of the Football for Friendship. It is great that the children from all over the world are united by such a project: this is important not only for sports development, but also for personal development. It's nice to see how young talents put their heart and soul into their favorite work, it's amazing that during just three days of camp the children managed to become friends and demonstrate a real team game», said Alexander Alayev, General Manager, General Secretary of the Russian Football Union.

«I'm pleased to see so many happy faces from all over the world in the International Children's Forum Football for Friendship! I would like to express my gratitude for the invitation to this extraordinary event as the two fundamentals of the programme are the most important to my life: friendship and football. I hope that football will open for you the doors not only to sports, but to every sphere of your lives! Here in the Forum, there are 211 participants from the FIFA countries; there are many people from all over the world, and each of them adores football. Football is a great platform for social changes to make our world more open and tolerant. Enjoy this unique experience and save your energy for the World Cup that is to start very soon! », declared Iker Casillas, Spanish football player, goalkeeper and captain of Portu (Portugal).

«I want to leave you a message: don’t let anybody hold you back because you can achieve your dreams. Football breaks down so many barriers and through football I have learnt lots of friendship, travelling the world, learning different cultures and most importantly I had the most amazing time along the way. Just make sure you dream big, you believe in it and you go to achieve it!», said Alex Scott, ex-defender of national England women’s football team.

 

Annex 1

 

Dear friends!

I am glad to greet in Moscow the participants and the guests of the Sixth Season of the Gazprom International Children’s social programme Football for Friendship.

This year, the final events of the programme take place in special atmosphere since very soon Russia will host FIFA World Cup 2018 and meet our planet’s strongest athletes. On the eve of this significant event the Young Players from 211 countries and regions come together to Moscow to show their talents and skills in a fair tournament, learn something new from famous football stars and meet their peers.

I strongly believe that such large-scale initiatives as Football for Friendship carry out an important mission. They support youth sports, promote values of a healthy lifestyle, teach children to respect representatives of different nationalities and cultures.

But what is the most important — these initiatives make a present of the joy of communication and the brightest, unforgettable emotions to the children. I wish the Football for Friendship participants all the best and good luck.

Vladimir Putin,

President of Russia

Annex 2

Welcome to International Football for Friendship Children's Forum.

In the course of its existence this project created by Gazprom has become a great celebration of sports, friendship and youth, helping children uncover their talents and take their first steps towards success.

The interest in the program Football for Friendship and its popularity grow year after year, attracting more and more participants. The program not only includes sports competitions, but also interesting educational events.

This year Football for Friendship gathered in Moscow young coaches, sportsmen, journalists from over two hundred countries, all of whom sincerely love football and honest and fair competition.

Your matches gave the audience strong emotions, showing breathtaking game moments, united teams, skill, excellent athletic performance, persistence and will to win. And, above all, you showed that sports develop the best qualities in people: honesty, fairness, mutual respect.

I am sure that Football for Friendship will remain a special place where all of you will be able to realize your potential, make your dreams come true and find real friends.

New competitions are awaiting you and, of course, new athletic achievements. I wish you success in everything!

 

D. Medvedev,

Prime Minister of the Russian Federation

 

 

Reference

International Children’s social programme Football for Friendship has been implemented by Gazprom since 2013.

The goal of the project is to develop children's football, foster tolerance and respect for various cultures and nationalities among children from different countries. The key values that the participants support and promote are friendship, equality, fairness, health, peace, devotion, victory, traditions, honour.

The main event of the project is the Sixth International Football for Friendship Children’s Forum, which brings together Young Players from around the world and where they discuss the issues of respecting values around the world with representatives of the media and famous players.

The special award of the Football for friendship project is the Nine Values Cup. This is a unique trophy, awarded annually to one of the professional football clubs for the implementation of social initiatives that embody the values of the project. The winner is chosen by the Young Ambassadors of the project by voting, which takes place in all countries — participants of the Football for friendship programme.

Thousands of participants around the world join the project every year. Since the implementation of the project started, its geography has significantly expanded — from 8 countries in 2013 to 211 countries in 2018. Hundreds of Young Players become ambassadors of the Football for Friendship movement and its values in their countries. The symbol of the of the Football for Friendship project is the Friendship Bracelet which is tied around the wrist by 3 million children and adults around the world, including famous athletes, journalists, artists, politicians, presidents of different countries.

 

Media contact information

International press-center of the Gazprom International Children`s social programme

Football for Friendship

Email: Russia_press@footballforfriendship.com

Web: www.gazprom-football.com

 

Official resources of the programme:

 

F4F Photo and video materials: http://media.footballforfriendship.com

F4F Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/FootballForFriendship/

F4F Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/user/FOOTBALL4FRIENDSHIP

F4F Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/footballforfriendship 

F4F Twitter: https://twitter.com/football4f 

F4F website: https://www.gazprom-football.com/en/home.htm

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