6th Football for Friendship International Children’s Forum brings together 211 countries and regions
The International Children’s Forum was held in Moscow yesterday as part of the 6th season of the Football for Friendship (F4F) international children’s social programme organized by Gazprom, an official partner of FIFA and the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™.
Unprecedented in scale, the 6th season brought together people from 211 countries and regions representing Asia, Africa, Australia and Oceania, Europe, and the Americas.
The Forum was attended by 1,500 children accompanied by adults, with around 5,000 guests and participants in total. The event featured boys and girls, including those with disabilities, who took part in the project as Young Footballers, Young Journalists, and Young Coaches. They were all driven by a common goal: to promote universal human values such as friendship, equality, fairness, health, peace, devotion, victory, traditions, and honor.
The Forum’s guests of honor included officials from the Russian Government, the Russian Olympic Committee, FIFA, heads of football federations, star footballers, Olympic and Paralympic champions, and public figures. Children were greeted by Iker Casillas, Spanish goalkeeper and the captain of the Portuguese club Porto, Alexander Kerzhakov, head coach of the Russian national under-17 football team, Firas Al-Khatib, Syrian footballer, and Prince Abdulrahman Ibrahim Al-Sayyar, Administrative Director of the Saudi Arabian Football Federation.
Olga Golodets, Deputy Prime Minister of the Russian Federation, read out a welcome message from Vladimir Putin, President of the Russian Federation, including the following passage: “I am convinced that ambitious initiatives like Football for Friendship carry out a vital mission: they support children’s and youth sports, promote the values of healthy and active living, and instill respect for different ethnicities and cultures.”
Viktor Zubkov, Chairman of the Gazprom Board of Directors, gave an opening speech at the Forum.
“As one of the most socially responsible companies in the world, Gazprom has always supported children’s sports. Football, which is rightfully regarded as the world’s most popular and widespread sports activity, is best suited to unite people speaking different languages over the values that every person on the planet can understand. I’m speaking first and foremost about peace, equality, and friendship. For children, it is primarily an opportunity to make new friends: to learn, to grow, and to excel in sports together. Today, we see children from 211 countries and regions taking part in the Forum. Compared to 2013, when we launched Football for Friendship, the geographical scope has expanded by 26 times. In the past five years, over 4,000 children have taken part in the initiative. Our project has more than 3 million supporters now,” said Viktor Zubkov.
In the course of the Forum, the winner of the Nine Values Cup – the main prize of F4F – was announced based on children’s vote. Out of 32 national teams taking part in the World Cup, young F4F participants chose the Brazil team as the one most attuned to the project’s values. The top three choices also included Russia and Germany.
For the final events of this year’s programme, taking place on June 8–15, the Green Routes of Friendship were set up, with four gas-fueled buses leading the motorcades of the international delegations. The widening use of gas-powered vehicles helps substantially reduce air pollution.
As per tradition, the International Day of Football and Friendship was celebrated on April 25, 2018, with ceremonies promoting friendliness, mutual respect, and a healthy lifestyle in 180 cities all over the globe. Tens of thousands of children and adults took part in friendly matches, open training sessions, flash mobs, and sports celebrations at which everyone wore a Friendship Bracelet – the official F4F symbol – as a show of support for core human values. The event was further endorsed by famous footballers, coaches, TV personalities, performers, and government officials across the world.
All of the final events of the 6th season were covered by the Young Journalists at the International Children’s Press Center. In the run-up to the World Cup and the Forum, children and adults from around the globe took part in a three-day International Friendship Camp in Moscow.
All young F4F participants will attend the opening match of the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™.
The Football for Friendship (F4F) international children’s social programme has been implemented by Gazprom since 2013.
The project is aimed at developing youth football and fostering tolerance and respect toward different cultures and ethnicities among children from across the world. The key values supported and promoted by the project’s participants include friendship, equality, fairness, health, peace, devotion, victory, traditions, and honor.
The annual Football for Friendship International Children’s Forum is the project’s most important event, bringing together young footballers from different countries to discuss worldwide promotion of the key values with media professionals and famous football players.
The F4F project has a special prize: the Nine Values Cup is a unique trophy awarded annually to a professional football club for the implementation of social initiatives based on the project’s values. The winner is chosen by young F4F ambassadors through a vote held in all countries participating in the project.
Thousands of participants join F4F every year. Since its inception, the project’s geographical scope expanded considerably from 8 countries in 2013 to 211 countries in 2018. Hundreds of young footballers become ambassadors for the F4F movement and its values in their respective countries. The Friendship Bracelet, the official symbol of F4F, is worn by 3 million children and adults across the world, including well-known athletes, journalists, performers, political figures, and heads of state.
As per tradition, the International Day of Football and Friendship was celebrated on April 25, 2018, with ceremonies promoting friendliness, mutual respect, and a healthy lifestyle in 180 cities all over the globe. Tens of thousands of children and adults took part in friendly matches, open training sessions, flash mobs, and sports celebrations at which everyone wore a Friendship Bracelet as a show of support for core human values. The event was further endorsed by famous footballers, coaches, TV personalities, performers, and government officials around the world.
In the beginning of the 6th season of F4F, an open draw was held and 32 International Friendship Teams – named after rare and endangered species – were formed. In addition, every Young Footballer from 211 countries and regions was assigned a position (goalkeeper, defender, midfielder, or forward). Playing in F4F teams allowed children from different cultures and ethnicities to learn how to find common ground and meet each other halfway in order to score a victory.