Gazprom brings together hundreds of children from different countries at second Football for Friendship forum
On May 24, 2014 Lisbon hosted the second International Children's Forum organized within the Football for Friendship global social project of Gazprom. The event was attended by over 450 children and teenagers from 16 European countries: Belarus, Bulgaria, Croatia, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Serbia, Slovenia, Turkey, Ukraine, and the UK.
The opening ceremony was conducted by Franz Beckenbauer, the official Ambassador of the project and legendary football player. Among the honored guests of the Forum, there were Vitor Baia, UEFA ambassador, Anatoly Timoschuk (Ukraine) and Luis Neto (Portugal), players of the Zenit FC. They supported young athletes in promoting major ideas of Football for Friendship. Since the beginning of 2014, more than 50,000 children and adults from various countries have been involved into the projects being implemented within the framework of the movement.
In 2014, the movement received support from Dick Advocaat, Didier Drogba, Vitaly Rodionov and other world football stars, as well as European football federations, government officials of different countries and international media.
During the Forum, young athletes representing leading European football clubs and sport schools were able not only to compete in the international children's street football tournament, but also to visit the big football event of the year – UEFA Champions League Final 2014 at the Estádio da Luz stadium.
The Forum events were covered by young journalists from all 16 participating countries, who joined more than 150 professional reporters representing leading European media in Lisbon.
The young delegates' election of the leader of the Football for Friendship international movement turned to be the high point of the Forum. Felipe Soares (Portugal) was elected as the movement leader. For the whole year, he will be the major representative of the movement, propagating the project's key values.
“The Forum is becoming more large-scale and dynamic. I can see how deeply children themselves are interested in it. Football for Friendship got a very strong support from influential public figures, athletes and sport organizations of different countries. For me personally, the major value of the project is in its provision of right guidelines for the contemporary teenagers and not only in sports, but also in their lives”, said Franz Beckenbauer.
Gazprom is a global energy company. Its major business lines are geological exploration, production, transportation, storage, processing and sales of gas, gas condensate and oil, sales of gas as a vehicle fuel as well as generation and marketing of heat and electric power.
Gazprom views its mission in reliable, efficient and balanced supply of natural gas, other fuels and their derivatives to consumers. The Company takes leading positions in the Russian energy sector and is one of the top Russian oil producers.
Gazprom holds the world's largest natural gas reserves. Its share in the global and Russian gas reserves makes up 17 and 72 per cent respectively. Gazprom accounts for 13 and 73 per cent of the global and Russian gas production output accordingly. At present, the Company actively implements large-scale projects aimed at developing gas resources of the Yamal Peninsula, the Arctic shelf, Eastern Siberia and the Far East, as well as hydrocarbon exploration and production projects abroad.
Together with the active business development, Gazprom pays much attention to social projects. In particular, the Company provides support to a number of sports organizations and events of both international and all-Russia scale. Gazprom is the official partner of the UEFA Champions League, offering support to the UEFA Super Cup, as well as a whole range of world's famous football clubs – German Schalke 04, British Chelsea and Serbian Crvena Zvezda.
Gazprom is a permanent sponsor of the Zenit FC, the SKA hockey clubs (St. Petersburg) and the Avangard (Omsk Region) hockey clubs, the Zenit-Kazan volleyball club, the St. Petersburg Open tennis tournament. The Company annually co-finances rhythmic gymnastics, volleyball, chess, biathlon and other sports competitions. Across its operation areas Gazprom conducts the Adult and Children's Spartakiada Games on a regular basis.
The Gazprom for Children program is the Company's largest social project. The program is primarily targeted at creating the environment for harmonious spiritual and physical development of children and teenagers, and helping them to discover and implement their potential.
The program embraces 73 Russian constituent entities. 45 Gazprom subsidiaries and organizations as well as 50 regional gas companies of Gazprom Mezhregiongaz Group take part in the program. In 2007–2013, the program's budget was RUB 26.9 billion. These funds, in particular, have already been used for the construction and upgrade of more than 1,000 sports facilities. Moreover, within the framework of the program, Gazprom has been engaging coaches and teachers, providing sports departments and activity groups with the required equipment, conducting festivals and sports events.
The Football for Friendship international children's social project is implemented by Gazprom within its Gazprom for Children social program.
The annual Football for Friendship international children's forum is the major event of the project. The first forum was held on May 25, 2013 in London, and the delegates from 8 European countries (Bulgaria, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Russia, Serbia, Slovenia and the UK) prepared an Open Letter outlining the key principles of the project: traditions, peace, friendship, victory, health, equality, fair play and commitment. The letter was signed by the representative of each country, and the project's Ambassador Franz Beckenbauer. The document was sent to Joseph Blatter, President of the International Football Federation (FIFA), to Michel Platini, President of the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) and to Jacques Rogge, President of the International Olympic Committee. In September 2013 the project participants had a meeting with Joseph Blatter, who confirmed the receipt of the letter, saying he was proud to be one of the people to whom it had been addressed.