FOOTBALL FOR FRIENDSHIP
The International Children’s Social programme FOOTBALL FOR FRIENDSHIP (F4F) is implemented by GAZPROM, the official partner of FIFA and 2018 FIFA World CupTM, as part of the global social programme ‘GAZPROM for Children’.
The F4F programme aims at developing youth football by championing youth sport and a healthy lifestyle, promoting tolerance and friendship between children from different countries. The key values of the programme are friendship, equality, fairness, health, peace, devotion, victory, traditions and honour. Evry year the programme receives growing support from leading global and national media, civil society organizations, famous actors and football starts.
The key event of the programme is the International Children’s FOOTBALL FOR FRIENDSHIP Forum that brings together talented football players aged 12 years around the globe. Boys and girls, including children with special needs who are able to play football, are actively involved into promotion of key human values. The F4F programme enhances its role as a global hub for teaching young ambassadors to promote key human values around the globe that will allow children’s voice to be heard worldwide.
In 2017 young football players from 64 countries of Europe, Asia, Africa, South and North America take part in the programme – Algeria, Argentina, Armenia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bangladesh, Belgium, Bolivia, Brazil, Bulgaria, China, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Egypt, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Republic of Ghana, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, India, Iran, Iraq, Japan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Libya, Lithuania, Macedonia, Mexico, Mozambique, Norway, Pakistan, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, South Korea, South Africa, Spain, Switzerland, Syria, Taiwan, Tajikistan, Tanzania, The Netherlands, The United Kingdom, The USA, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, Uruguay, Uzbekistan, Venezuela, Vietnam.
All 64 young football players are randomly united into 8 mixed international TEAMs OF FRIENDSHIP during the Open Draw dedicated to the official launch of the Fifth programme season on March 16. The Open Draw gives a birth to Friendship Relay, when 64 countries should define its young ambassadors.
The Fifth (anniversary!) International Children’s FOOTBALL FOR FRIENDSHIP Forum takes place on June 26 – July 3, 2017 in St. Petersburg. Guests of the Forum see at first hand 8 mixed international TEAMs OF FRIENDSHIP competing for the first place within the Gazprom FOOTBALL FOR FRIENDSHIP International Championship 2017.
All Forum events have extensive media coverage with the Forum hosting both professional journalists representing key media from participating countries and young journalists who accompany their country’s football players. A special International Children’s Press Center is arranged for the young journalists who cover all the programme’s activities on local and global levels.
After the Forum all the participants visit the FIFA Confederations Cup Final 2017.
Within the FOOTBALL FOR FRIENDSHIP programme since 2014, the International Day of Football and Friendship is celebrated annually on April 25th. On this day all participating countries host friendly football matches that start with the exchange of Friendship Bracelets, an official programme symbol that signifies tolerance, equality and a healthy lifestyle. The International Day of Football and Friendship is supported by famous sportsmen, artists, journalists and representatives of associations and governing bodies.
Within the F4F programme a special award the Nine Values Cup is granted during the Forum. The Cup is presented to the professional football club that shows the greatest commitment to the nine values of the F4F programme through charity campaigns, social initiatives and other projects implemented to benefit society. The Nine Values Cup is unique as the winner is chosen by children, all of whom are participants of the FOOTBALL FOR FRIENDSHIP programme.
The First Forum took place on May 25, 2013 in London and brought together young sportsmen from eight European countries (Bulgaria, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Russia, Serbia, Slovenia and the UK). Forum participants prepared an open letter in which they formed the key values of the programme: friendship, equality, fairness, health, peace, devotion, victory and traditions. This letter was signed by representatives of each country and the global ambassador of the programme Franz Beckenbauer, and was subsequently sent to the heads of the international sport organizations.
The Second Forum expanded to twice its size, bringing together young football players from 16 countries: Belarus, Bulgaria, Croatia, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Serbia, Slovenia, Turkey, Ukraine and the UK. The Forum took place on May 23-25, 2014 in Lisbon and culminated with the election of the international FOOTBALL FOR FRIENDSHIP movement leader. Following results of voting that involved all the sportsmen invited to the Forum, Filipe Soares from Portugal became the leader of the movement and major promoter of key values of the programme for one year.
The Forum also hosted the first International Street Soccer Tournament. Benfica from Portugal won the Tournament, Serbian Crvena Zvezda took second place, and the Russian national team finished third.
In 2015 the Third International Children’s FOOTBALL FOR FRIENDSHIP Forum was held in Berlin on June 4-7 and welcomed representatives from 24 countries across Europe and Asia: Austria, Belarus, Belgium, Bulgaria, China, Croatia, Czech Republic, France, Japan, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Kazakhstan, the Netherlands, Poland, Russia, Serbia, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Spain, Switzerland, Turkey, Ukraine, and the UK. The inclusion of Asian countries resulted in the addition of a new key F4F programme value to the list – honour.
During the Forum in Berlin for the first time a special award – the F4F Nine Values Cup – was presented and granted to FC Barcelona. Children who voted for FC Barcelona noted its initiatives in support and development of youth football as well as help for young footballers from developing countries.
The Fourth International Children’s FOOTBALL FOR FRIENDSHIP Forum took place on May 26-29, 2016 in Milan. Guests of the Forum competed in the International Street Soccer Tournament with teams from 32 participated countries as well as got a chance to communicate with their mates from other countries and world football stars including the programme’s global ambassador – Franz Beckenbauer. During the Forum in Milan FC Bayern was awarded with Nine Values Cup. Also in 2016 FC AL-WAHDA that represented Syria during the Fourth season of the F4F programme received Nine Values Cup for devotion of young football players to the F4F programme values. Awarding ceremony was arranged in Damascus, Syria, during the open presentation of the documentary film ‘3 Days Without War’ dedicated to Syrian team participation in the F4F programme.