INTERNATIONAL DAY OF FOOTBALL AND FRIENDSHIP CELEBRATED IN SCHOOLS AROUND THE WORLD
April 25 is the International Day of Football and Friendship. This year, it was celebrated in schools and sports academies of more than 50 countries of Europe, Asia, Africa, North and South America. The activities involved meetings, training, and friendly matches with the participation of the Young Ambassadors and Coaches of the Gazprom International Children’s Social Programme Football for Friendship, famous football players and officials.
More than 40 000 participants have taken part in more than 200 events that formed part of the International Day of Football and Friendship. Such countries as Armenia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Belarus, Bolivia, France, Italy, Japan, Kazakhstan, Lithuania, Moldavia, Nigeria, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Syria, Tajikistan, UK, USA, Uzbekistan has held the International Football and Friendship Lesson. In Estonia and Latvia, the Open Lesson was held together with a training session for the young football players. In Russia, the International Day of Football and Friendship was celebrated in schools, football academies and clubs of the 11 host-cities of the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia.
In Bulgaria, Macedonia, and Romania schoolkids and Young Ambassadors of the Football for Friendship programme met famous football players. After the meeting, the coach of the Romanian Football Federation Nana Falemi gave an interview to one of the programme’s Young Journalists. During the meetings, interviews, and discussions Young Ambassadors players of Bulgarian FC Ludogorets and Macedonian FK Vardar each in their respective country discussed with their peers the mission of the project, the role of sports and the most important human values.
Famous Serbian TV-host and Ambassador of the programme Ivan Ivanović together with Serbian football player of Crvena Zvezda FC Vujadin Savić visited children undergoing cancer diseases treatment. They told the children about the Nine Values of Football for Friendship: friendship, equality, fairness, health, peace, devotion, victory, traditions, and honour. They also gave them branded souvenirs of the football club and carried out a short practical football exercise. That evening, young players of Crvena Zvezda FC participated in Ivan Ivanović’s talk show and told a multimillion audience about the International Day of Football and Friendship.
On this day, Ljubljana, the capital of Slovenia, celebrated Football and Friendship Festival, while in Bosnia and Herzegovina 7 children’s football clubs participated in the tournament.
In many countries, the celebration of the International Day of Football and Friendship continued for several days. Greece and Pakistan held friendly matches and open lessons with the participation of national stars and officials. Among the guests of honour at the events in Lahore, Pakistan’s second largest city, was Muhammad Taimoor Khan, the Minister of Punjab for Youth Affairs and Sports. In Greece, the school children met former AEK FC and Greece national team goalkeeper Elias Atmatsidis.
In India, Ananya Kamboj, Young Ambassador of the programme and the author of the book “My Journey from Mohali to St. Petersburg”, held the International Football and Friendship Lesson. In her book, she tells the reader about the Nine Values of the programme and her impressions from communicating with her peers at the project.
Dutch FC Alkmaar Zaanstreek, Hungarian Ferencvárosi TC, Slovakian FC Slovak offered to represent Football for Friendship at the Italian, Spanish, and Slovakian football tournaments. After the game in Spain, young players of the Ferencvárosi TC will exchange Friendship Bracelets with the main squad, including the club’s former midfielder and former Hungary national team player Tamás Hajnal.
"To my mind, youth sports need active support from professional football players. Celebrating the International Day of Football and Friendship not only lets us spread the most important values but also create new football traditions. Creating and preserving traditions, passing on the experience are some of the most important elements of professional growth and success in any aspect of our lives," says Mike Puig, CEO of the Soccer Barcelona Youth Academy and the International Football for Friendship Forum speaker.
“I have always wanted to meet a famous football player, and I love playing football and watching the games on TV. Now I dream of participating in the programme as a Young Coach. I love the fact that girls and boys train and play as equals on the same team. I will send an application and maybe I’m lucky to get in! May the Friendship Bracelet bring me luck!” shared 15-year-old Faris football academy coach Muhammad Matuk from Syria.
Every event begins with all participants including invited guests exchanging Friendship Bracelets the main symbol of the programme. The blue string symbolizes peaceful sky over our heads and the green one a football field accessible for everyone.
The International Day of Football and Friendship was established in 2014 as part of the Gazprom International Children’s Social Programme Football for Friendship which involves Young Participants from all over the world. Traditionally, on this day the participants hold friendly matches, workshops, meetings with football stars; children-participants exchange Friendship Bracelets with famous representatives of sports and social organizations, and cultural luminaries. The final events of the 7th Season of F4F will take place in Madrid from May 28 to June 2, 2019.
URL to access photo materials from the event:
The International Children’s Social Programme Football for Friendship has been implemented by Gazprom since 2013. The key values of the programme promoted by its participants are friendship, equality, fairness, health, peace, devotion, victory, traditions, and honour. The F4F programme is supported by FIFA, UEFA, the International Olympic and Paralympic Committees, football federations, international children’s foundations, famous athletes, and the world’s leading football clubs. Over the past six seasons, the F4F events have brought together more than 5.5 thousand participants and acquired over 4.5 million followers from different parts of the world, including athletes, artists, and politicians.
Official Internet resources of the programme:
Photos and video materials for media: http://media.footballforfriendship.com
Official Facebook channel: https://www.facebook.com/FootballForFriendship/
Official YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/FOOTBALL4FRIENDSHIP
Official Wikipedia page: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Football_for_Friendship
Official Instagram account: https://www.instagram.com/footballforfriendship
Official Twitter account: https://twitter.com/football4f
Official website: https://www.gazprom-football.com/en/home.htm