Children from 64 countries played Football for Friendship

July 1, 2017, St. Petersburg. A “Football for Friendship” championship took place in St. Petersburg as part of the 5th season of Gazprom PJSC's Football for Friendship International Children's Social Program.

Young football players, the program ambassadors from 64 countries, were united under the colors of the championship. 12-year old boys and girls were joined into 8 international Friendship Teams, and young judges were assigned from participants of previous seasons of the project to take their places on the friendship coach deck.

From June 27 to 29, young football players were at the Friendship Camp, and training sessions were held under the guidance of the young coaches and reputable football players, who helped the athletes build relations at the football ground, develop team tactics, and feel the team spirit.

On July 1, footballers of the 5th season of the Football for Friendship international children's program met as teams on the emerald grass of the football pitch and proved to the entire world with their own example that friendship is possible regardless of gender, physical abilities, and race.

"I like being here a lot, the 1st time I was a player, and this season, I am a young coach. The new position is quite challenging as I have to set an example, and act as a leader for all players of my team. I am sure that in future I will find my way in sports, probably, as a coach, but now my dream is to become a professional football player", Emeke Hansen (16 years old, Holland), the only female young coach, shared her emotions. 

Before the start of the football battles under the motto of commitment to the key human values, the head coach of the St. Petersburg wheelchair rugby team Vladimir Busygin held the draw.

"Such championships are a perfect opportunity for children to demonstrate commitment to key human values and change the world view of adults. I am looking at them and remember myself: how passionate are children about the game and football that brings us together" Vladimir Busygin says.

According to the draw results, at the 1st Football for Friendship championship held under the Olympic system the Yellow Friendship Team played with the Cyan Friendship Team, while the Red Friendship Team met young football players from the Orange Friendship Team.

The White team played with the Green one, and children in Violet t-shirts met the Blue t-shirt team. After a short break, semi-finals and finals took place between the Orange and the Violet teams. The motto of the match was friendship and equality. The game score was 4:3 in favor of the Orange team, and the athletes shook their hands as friends after the final whistle.

The culmination of the competitive part of the 5th season of Gazprom PJSC's Football for Friendship International Children's Social Program was the unique award ceremony for finalists. Captains of the teams awarded each other with medals, certificates, and special prizes from the Russian Football Union.

"It is a pleasure to see young guys with bright eyes from around the world. At the Football for Friendship championship athletes from different countries made real teams in 3 days. Children fought for the victory as adults, and I think they have bright future ahead" Vice President of the Russian Football Union, President of the Russian Football Premier League, Sergey Pryadkin noted.

Young football players, who didn't take part in the final match, held a series of friendly matches to support the Football for Friendship program values. More than 1000 people came to support the young athletes, among them reputable football players, such as the Russian ambassador of the program, the best striker in the history of the Russia national football team Aleksandr Kerzhakov and head coach of the national team Stanislav Cherchesov, more than 200 journalists from leading international sports media and representatives of football associations from around the world.