Gazprom’s Football for Friendship international children’s social program

Football for Friendship (F4F) is an annual international children's social program implemented by Gazprom since 2013. The program includes a number of sports and educational events held in different countries around the globe with the aim of promoting a healthy and active lifestyle, as well as fostering an attitude of respect toward other cultures among its Young Participants.

Participants of Second Football for Friendship International Children’s Forum. Lisbon, 2014

Participants of Second Football for Friendship International Children’s Forum. Lisbon, 2014

Every year, thousands of people across the world take part in F4F. In the course of the past 7 seasons, it has brought together more than 6,000 participants, gaining over 5 million supporters. Since its launch, the project has expanded its geography to 211 countries and regions. In 2019, the most multinational football training session in history took place as part of the program's final events, thus setting a new world record and earning F4F an official GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS® certificate.

Gazprom’s Football for Friendship international children’s social programme wins GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS® title for Most Nationalities in Football Training Session

Gazprom’s Football for Friendship international children’s social programme wins GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS® title for Most Nationalities in Football Training Session

The F4F program's key objectives include:

  • developing children's football around the world;
  • promoting an active and healthy lifestyle;
  • encouraging the social involvement of youth in sports and culture;
  • fostering a multicultural worldview;
  • promoting essential shared human values on a global scale.

In order to achieve these objectives, a number of sports and educational events are being implemented within the program:

  • International Day of Football and Friendship;
  • Football for Friendship Open Draw;
  • International Football for Friendship Coaches Academy;
  • Football for Friendship International Children's Press Center;
  • International Friendship Camp;
  • Football for Friendship International Forum;
  • Football for Friendship World Championship.

Children participating in the final F4F events not only meet and communicate with their peers from other countries, as well as with famous football players and public figures, but also become Young Ambassadors to further promote universal values by themselves among their age-mates. The events of the program are covered by the world's leading media and by Young Reporters, for whom the International Children's Press Center is set up every year.

Young journalist reporting on F4F events in Berlin, June 5–7, 2015

Young journalist reporting on F4F events in Berlin, June 5–7, 2015

At the end of the final events, Gazprom supplies all project participants with tickets to the UEFA Champions League Final. For the entire duration of the Forum, children are provided with accommodation, meals, transportation services, attending personnel (including security officers), and round-the-clock medical care.

The F4F program is supported by FIFA and UEFA, the Olympic and Paralympic Committees, and such renowned footballers as Andrey Arshavin, Vitor Baia, Didier Drogba, Roberto Carlos, Marco Materazzi, Luis Neto, Alexey Smertin, Dmitry Sychev, Anatoly Timoshchuk, Alexander Kerzhakov, Igor Akinfeev, Julio Baptista, Iker Casillas, Michel Salgado, Julian Draxler, Franz Beckenbauer, Nikita Simonyan, Ralf Faehrmann, Celia Sasic, and Ricardo Carvalho, as well as many football associations and federations worldwide. F4F has received awards at both international and national levels for its contributions to promoting sports, social responsibility, and communications.

Ramon Pont, Vice President of FC Barcelona Foundation, receiving Nine Values Cup during International F4F Forum in Berlin, June 6, 2015

Ramon Pont, Vice President of FC Barcelona Foundation, receiving Nine Values Cup during International F4F Forum in Berlin, June 6, 2015

Ramon Pont, Vice President of FC Barcelona Foundation, receiving Nine Values Cup during International F4F Forum in Berlin, June 6, 2015

The International Day of Football and Friendship, the official holiday of the program, is celebrated internationally on April 25 with friendly matches, flash mobs, radio marathons, master classes, TV shows, open training sessions, and many other events, which are attended by renowned footballers and representatives of sports and public organizations. About 100,000 people participate in the celebrations annually.

The Football for Friendship Open Draw is an essential F4F mechanism for the formation of International Friendship Teams. The Open Draw process is based on the F4F principle that implies unity regardless of gender, ethnicity, background, social status, and physical capacities. The Open Draw is also attended by the Young Participants of the preceding seasons and by famous athletes.

Final game of F4F International Street Football Tournament near Brandenburg Gate in Berlin, June 6, 2015

Final game of F4F International Street Football Tournament near Brandenburg Gate in Berlin, June 6, 2015

Final game of F4F International Street Football Tournament near Brandenburg Gate in Berlin, June 6, 2015

The International Football for Friendship Coaches Academy is a free-of-charge online learning platform offering a number of practical video lessons aimed at improving the skills of coaches teaching youth teams, sports groups and P.E. classes. The training course was developed by the authors of F4F sports and humanitarian educational programs, namely by teaching managers and coaches from the academies of FC Barcelona and experts of UEFA's humanitarian programs. Any coach who is training a children's team or teaching P.E. classes is welcome to become a student of the Academy. Applications are accepted at academy.footballforfriendship.com.

The Football for Friendship International Children's Press Center is a platform for mastering and improving journalism skills, with Young Journalists as its key figures. The Press Center begins its work one month prior to the annual Football for Friendship International Forum, in order for Young Journalists to collect information about the program, prepare the materials on the initiatives implemented in their countries within the new F4F season, and acquire basic journalism skills to cover F4F events.

The Football for Friendship International Camp is a three-day event organized in anticipation of the Football for Friendship World Championship and the Football for Friendship International Forum. The camp offers master classes held by famous footballers, as well as training sessions, exercises and other activities. Young Participants train under the guidance of Young Coaches and study the key values of F4F at the Nine Values School.

International Street Football Tournament. Lisbon, 2014

International Street Football Tournament. Lisbon, 2014

The International Football for Friendship Forum is a unique platform where the program participants jointly discuss the issues of promoting children's football around the world and the ways to resolve them. During the Forum, members of international delegations meet with acclaimed athletes, representatives of sports organizations and federations, ambassadors and other public figures, with whom they speak about the most efficient ways of promoting the key values of F4F worldwide.

The Football for Friendship World Championship is a full-scale tournament with the standings compiled. Following an official opening ceremony, teams play qualifying games to determine the participants of the quarter-final, semi-final, and the final. Traditionally, the winning team is rewarded with medals.

All of the key events have their messages reflected in the trophies and symbols of the F4F program:

The Nine Values Cup is a unique trophy of the F4F program. It has been awarded annually since 2015 to a professional football club both for sporting achievements and for the implementation of social initiatives. The Nine Values Cup is presented to football clubs showing the strongest commitment to the F4F program's values, such as friendship, equality, fairness, health, peace, devotion, victory, traditions, and honor. The unique feature of the Nine Values Cup is that its winners are chosen by the children participating in the F4F program.

The Cup was first produced in 2015 by the well-known German sculptor Achim Ripperger especially for the F4F program. As of today, the Nine Values Cup has been awarded to such football clubs as Barcelona (Spain, 2015), Bayern (Germany, 2016), Al-Wahda (Syria, 2016), Real Madrid (Spain, 2017), Liverpool (England, 2019), as well the Brazilian national football team (Brazil, 2018).

7th season of Football for Friendship international children’s social programme organized by Gazprom concludes in Madrid

Winners of Football for Friendship World Championship with trophy cup, center – Roberto Carlos

The Friendship Bracelet is an official F4F symbol established in 2014. The bracelet is made of two simple strings, one blue and one green. Blue signifies a clear, cloudless sky, and green is a symbol of the football field – a field that always remains the same and is available to everyone in every place of the world, regardless of age, gender, and social status.

By wearing the Bracelet, people demonstrate their readiness to share the key values of F4F: friendship, equality, fairness, health, peace, devotion, victory, traditions, and honor. The Friendship Bracelet's wearers include not only Young Ambassadors of F4F all across the world, but also such footballers as Anatoly Timoshchuk, Didier Drogba, Franz Beckenbauer and Alexander Kerzhakov, as well as Fatma Samoura, Secretary General of FIFA, Viktor Zubkov, Chairman of the Gazprom Board of Directors, and many others.

Andreas Kuen exchanging Friendship Bracelets with children from FC RAPID, participants of F4F 2015 from Austria

Andreas Kuen exchanging Friendship Bracelets with children from FC RAPID, participants of F4F 2015 from Austria

Andreas Kuen exchanging Friendship Bracelets with children from FC RAPID, participants of F4F 2015 from Austria

The official mascots of Football for Friendship are Freddy the dog and Freida the cat created by the famous British artist Bill Asprey especially for F4F. These characters embody the global idea of the program that friendship is free from prejudice and can form a language of peace, equality and devotion shared and understood by everyone.

Project geography

2019

More than 800 children and adults from Europe, Asia, Africa, and the Americas, more than 160 journalists from the leading national and international media companies

2018

211 countries and regions representing Asia, Africa, Australia and Oceania, Europe, and the Americas.

2017

64 countries: Algeria, Argentina, Armenia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Belarus, Belgium, Bolivia, Brazil, Bulgaria, China, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Egypt, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, India, Iran, Iraq, Italy, Japan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Libya, Lithuania, Macedonia, Mexico, Mozambique, Netherlands, Norway, Pakistan, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Switzerland, Syria, Tajikistan, Tanzania, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, Uruguay, the United Kingdom, the United States, Uzbekistan, Venezuela, and Vietnam.

2016

32 countries: Algeria, Argentina, Armenia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Belgium, Brazil, Bulgaria, China, Croatia, the Czech Republic, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Japan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, the Netherlands, Poland, Russia, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Switzerland, Syria, Turkey, Ukraine, the UK, and Vietnam.

2015

24 countries: Austria, Belarus, Belgium, Bulgaria, China, Croatia, the Czech Republic, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Japan, Kazakhstan, the Netherlands, Poland, Russia, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Switzerland, Turkey, Ukraine, and the UK.

2014

16 countries: Belarus, Bulgaria, Croatia, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Serbia, Slovenia, Turkey, Ukraine, and the UK.

2013

8 countries: Bulgaria, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Russia, Serbia, Slovenia, and the UK.

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