Football for Friendship
Football for Friendship (Russian: ФУТБОЛ ДЛЯ ДРУЖБЫ) is an annual International Children’s Social Programme implemented by Gazprom Company. The aim of the programme is to cultivate respect for different cultures and nationalities in children from different countries through football, to promote essential values and interest in a healthy lifestyle for the younger generation. Within the framework of the programme , football players at the age of 12 from different countries take part in the annual International Football for Friendship Childrens Forum, Football for Friendship World Championship, International Day of Football and Friendship The programme is supported by FIFA, UEFA, UN, Olympic and Paralympic Committees, governments and football federations of different countries, international charities, public organizations, leading football clubs of the planet. The global operator of the programme is AGT Communications Group (Russia).
Football for Friendship 2013
The first International Children's Forum Football for Friendship was held on May 25, 2013, in London. 670 children from 8 countries took part in it: from Bulgaria, Great Britain, Hungary, Germany, Greece, Russia, Serbia and Slovenia. Russia was represented by 11 football teams from 11 Russian cities that will host the FIFA World Cup matches in 2018. The junior teams of Zenit, Chelsea, Schalke 04, Crvena Zvezda clubs, winners of the children's sports day of Gazprom, and winners of the Fakel festival also participated in the forum.
The result of the forum was an open letter in which the children formulated the eight values of the program: friendship, equality, fairness, health, peace, devotion, victory and traditions. Later the letter was sent to the heads of the UEFA, FIFA and IOC. In September 2013, during a meeting with Vladimir Putin and Vitaly Mutko, Sepp Blatter confirmed receipt of the letter and stated that he was ready to support Football for Friendship.
Football for Friendship 2014
The second season of the Football for Friendship Programme was held in Lisbon on May 23–25, 2014 and embraced more than 450 teenagers from 16 countries: Belarus, Bulgaria, Great Britain, Hungary, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Serbia, Slovenia, Turkey, Ukraine, France and Croatia. The young footballers took part in the international International Football for Friendship Forum, a tournament in street football and attended the UEFA Champions League Final in 2013/2014. The winner of the International Street Football Tournament in 2014 was the Benfica junior team (Portugal).
The result of the second season of the program was the election of a leader of the Football for Friendship movement. It was Felipe Suarez from Portugal. In June 2014, as leader of the movement, he visited the ninth international youth football tournament in memory of Yuri Andreyevich Morozov.
Football for Friendship 2015
The third season of the International Social Programme Football for Friendship was held in June 2015 in Berlin. Young participants from the Asian continent – children's football teams from Japan, China and Kazakhstan – participated in the programme for the first time. In total, junior teams from 24 football clubs from 24 countries took part in the third season. The young footballers talked with their peers from other countries and stars of world football, including the global ambassador of the program Franz Beckenbauer, and also took part in the International tournament of street football among junior teams. The winner of the International Street Football Tournament in 2015 was the Rapid junior team (Austria).
The events of the third season of the program Football for Friendship Programme were covered by about 200 journalists from the world's leading publications, as well as 24 young reporters from Europe and Asia, who were members of the International Children's Press Center. The culmination of 2015 was the ceremony of awarding the Nine Values Cup, which was won by Barcelona football club (Spain).The winner was chosen by the children who, on the eve of the Forum, took part in global voting held in all 24 participating countries.
Football for Friendship 2016
The start of the International Children's Social Program Football for Friendship in 2016 was given as part of an online Hangout press conference, held on March 24 in Munich with the participation of the Global Ambassador of the Programme – Franz Beckenbauer.
In the fourth season of the Programme, 8 new junior teams from Azerbaijan, Algeria, Armenia, Argentina, Brazil, Vietnam, Kyrgyzstan, and Syria joined it, so the total number of participating countries reached 32.
On April 5, 2016 voting for the unique trophy, the Nine Values Cup began. Fans from all over the world participated in selecting the winner, but the final decision was made by the participants of the Football for Friendship Programme by voting. The Cup was won by Bayern football club (Munich). Participants in the Football for Friendship noted the club's activities to support children with special needs, as well as initiatives to provide treatment for children in different countries and help those in need.
The fourth International Children's Forum Football for Friendship and the final game of the Children's International Tournament in street football took place on May 27–28, 2016 in Milan. The winner of the Tournament in street football took place on May 27–28, 2016 in Milan. The winner of the tournament was the Maribor team from Slovenia. At the end of the Forum, the participants followed the tradition of attending the UEFA Champions League Final. The events of the Forum were covered by more than 200 journalists from the world's leading media, as well as the Children's International Press Center, which included young journalists from the participating countries.
Young footballers from the Syrian club Al-Wahda took part in the fourth season of Football for Friendship, which was unprecedented. The inclusion of the Syrian team among the program participants, and the visit of Syrian children to the events in Milan was an important step towards overcoming the humanitarian isolation of the country. The Arabic sports editorial board of the international television channel Russia Today, with the support of the Syrian Football Federation, shot a documentary film "Three days without war" about the children participating in the project. On September 14, 2016, more than 7,000 people visited the film's premiere in Damascus.
Football for Friendship 2017
In 2017, the number of participating countries increased from 32 to 64. For the first time, the Football for Friendship Programme was attended by children from Mexico and the United States. Thus, the project united young players of four continents — Africa, Eurasia, North America and South America.
In the fifth season the program was implemented in accordance with a new concept: one young footballer from each country was chosen to represent it. The guys united in eight international Friendship Teams, formed from 12-year-old boys and girls, including those with disabilities.
In the course of an Open Draw, the country composition of the teams and the game positions for the representatives of the participating countries was determined. The Draw was held in Internet conference mode. At the head of the eight Friendship Teams were young coaches: Rene Lampert (Slovenia), Stefan Maksimovich (Serbia), Brandon Shabani (Great Britain), Charlie Sui (China), Anatoly Chentuloyev (Russia), Bogdan Krolevetsky (Russia), Anton Ivanov (Russia), Emma Henschen (Netherlands). Liliya Matsumoto (Japan), a representative of the Football for Friendship international press center, also took part in the draw
The winner of the Football for Friendship World Championship 2017 was the "orange" team, which included a young coach and young footballers from nine countries: Rene Lampert (Slovenia), Hong Jun Marvin Tue (Singapore), Paul Puig I Montana (Spain), Gabriel Mendoza (Bolivia), Ravan Kazimov (Azerbaijan), Khrisimir Stanimirov Stanchev (Bulgaria), Ivan Agustin Casco (Argentina), Roman Horak (Czech Republic), Hamzah Yusuf Nuri Alhavvat (Libya).
The International Children's Forum Football for Friendship was attended by Viktor Zubkov (chairman of the board of directors of PJSC Gazprom), Fatma Samura (general secretary of FIFA), Philippe Le Flock (general commercial director of FIFA), Giulio Baptista (Brazilian footballer), Ivan Zamorano (Chilean striker), Alexander Kerzhakov (Russian footballer) and other guests, who called for the promotion of key human values among the younger generation.
In 2017, the project brought together more than 600,000 people, and more than 1,000 children and adults from 64 countries attended the final events in St. Petersburg.
Football for Friendship 2018
In 2018, it was decided that the Sixth season of the Football for Friendship Programme would be held from February 15 to June 15 in Russia. The programme participants include young footballers and journalists representing 211 countries and regions of the world. The official start of the 2018 programme was made by the Open Draw, by the results of which 32 football teams – International Teams of Friendship – were formed.
Associating with an ecological initiative, the 2018 International Teams of Friendship were named after rare and endangered species of animals.
International Teams of Friendship of the 2018 Football for Friendship programme:
Also, within the framework of the environmental mission, an international campaign – Happy Buzz Day – was launched on May 30, 2018, encouraging the world community to support the endangered species’ saving organizations. National parks and reserves of Russia, USA, Nepal and Great Britain joined the campaign. Furthermore, during the final events of the Football for Friendship programme in Moscow, the participants travelled by eco-friendly bus buses es on natural gas. Countries and regions participating in the Football for Friendship programme in 2018:
- Commonwealth of Australia
- Republic of Austria
- Republic of Azerbaijan
- Algerian People's Democratic Republic
- United States Virgin Islands
- American Samoa
- Antigua and Barbuda
- Arab Republic of Egypt
- Argentine Republic
- Bermuda Islands
- Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela
- Bosnia and Herzegovina
- British Virgin Islands
- Burkina Faso
- Grand Duchy of Luxembourg
- Oriental Republic of Uruguay
- Gabon Republic
- Republic of Guinea
- Brunei Darussalam
- State of Israel
- State of Qatar
- State of Kuwait
- State of Libya
- State of Palestine
- Hellenic Republic
- Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste
- Democratic Republic of the Congo
- Democratic Republic of São Tomé and Príncipe
- Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka
- Dominican Republic
- Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan
- Islamic Republic of Afghanistan
- Islamic Republic of Iran
- Islamic Republic of Mauritania
- Italian Republic
- Republic of Yemen
- Cayman Islands
- People's Republic of China
- Chinese Taipei (Taiwan)
- Principality of Andorra
- Principality of Liechtenstein
- Co-operative Republic of Guyana
- Democratic People's Republic of Korea
- Kingdom of Bahrain
- Kingdom of Belgium
- Kingdom of Bhutan
- Kingdom of Denmark
- Kingdom of Spain
- Kingdom of Cambodia
- Kingdom of Lesotho
- Kingdom of Morocco
- Kingdom of the Netherlands
- Kingdom of Norway
- Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
- Kingdom of Swaziland
- Kingdom of Thailand
- Kingdom of Tonga
- Kingdom of Sweden
- Kyrgyz Republic
- Lao People's Democratic Republic
- Republic of Latvia
- Lebanese Republic
- Republic of Lithuania
- Republic of Maldives
- United Mexican States
- Plurinational State of Bolivia
- People's Republic of Bangladesh
- Independent State of Papua New Guinea
- Independent State of Samoa
- New Zealand
- New Caledonia
- United Republic of Tanzania
- United Arab Emirates
- Cook Islands
- Turks and Caicos Islands
- Republic of Albania
- Republic of Angola
- Republic of Belarus
- Republic of Benin
- Republic of Bulgaria
- Republic of Botswana
- Republic of Burundi
- Republic of Vanuatu
- Republic of Haiti
- Republic of the Gambia
- Republic of Ghana
- Republic of Guatemala
- Republic of Guinea-Bissau
- Republic of Honduras
- Republic of Djibouti
- Republic of Zambia
- Republic of Zimbabwe
- Republic of India
- Republic of Indonesia
- Republic of Iraq
- Republic of Ireland
- Republic of Iceland
- Republic of Kazakhstan
- Republic of Kenya
- Republic of Cyprus
- Republic of Colombia
- Republic of the Congo
- Republic of Korea
- Republic of Kosovo
- Republic of Costa Rica
- Republic of Ivory Coast
- Republic of Cuba
- Republic of Liberia
- Republic of Mauritius
- Republic of Madagascar
- Republic of Macedonia
- Republic of Malawi
- Republic of Mali
- Republic of Malta
- Republic of Mozambique
- Republic of Moldova
- Republic of Namibia
- Republic of Niger
- Republic of Nicaragua
- Republic of Cape Verde
- Islamic Republic of Pakistan
- Republic of Panama
- Republic of Paraguay
- Republic of Peru
- Republic of Poland
- Portuguese Republic
- Republic of Rwanda
- Republic of San Marino
- Republic of Seychelles
- Republic of Senegal
- Republic of Serbia
- Republic of Singapore
- Republic of Slovenia
- Republic of the Union of Myanmar
- Republic of the Sudan
- Republic of Suriname
- Republic of Sierra Leone
- Republic of Tajikistan
- Republic of Trinidad and Tobago
- Republic of Turkmenistan
- Republic of Uganda
- Republic of Uzbekistan
- Republic of Fiji
- Republic of the Philippines
- Republic of Croatia
- Republic of Chad
- Republic of Montenegro
- Republic of Chile
- Republic of Ecuador
- Republic of Equatorial Guinea
- Republic of El Salvador
- Republic of South Sudan
- Republic of Cameroon
- Russian Federation
- Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China
- Free Associated State of Puerto Rico
- Northern Ireland
- Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
- Saint Lucia
- Syrian Arab Republic
- Slovak Republic
- Commonwealth of the Bahamas
- Commonwealth of Dominica
- United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
- United States of America
- Solomon Islands
- Socialist Republic of Vietnam
- Union of Comoros
- Macao Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China
- Sultanate of Oman
- Territory of Guam
- Togolese Republic
- Republic of Tunisia
- Republic of Turkey
- Faroe Islands
- Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal
- Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia
- Federative Republic of Brazil
- Federal Republic of Germany
- Federal Republic of Nigeria
- Federal Republic of Somalia
- Federation of Saint Kitts and Nevis
- Republic of Finland
- French Republic
- Central African Republic
- Czech Republic
- Swiss Confederation
- Republic of Estonia
- Republic of South Africa
32 International Teams of Friendship participated in the 2018 Football for Friendship World Championship. For the first time in the history of the programme, the final match was commented by a Young Commentator from Syria, Yazan Taha and judged by a Young Referee from Russia, Bogdan Batalin. The winner of the 2018 Football for Friendship World Championship was the “Chimpanzees” team consisting of Young Players from Dominica, St. Kitts and Nevis, Malawi, Colombia, Benin and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Vladislav Polyakov, a Young Participant from Saransk, Russia, coached the team. The final event of the Sixth season of the programme became the 2018 International Football for Friendship Children’s Forum, held on June 13 at the Centre for Oceanography and Marine Biology "Moskvarium". It was visited by Viktor Zubkov (Chairman of the Gazprom Board of Directors), Olga Golodets (Deputy Prime Minister of the Russian Federation), Iker Casillas (Spanish football player, ex-captain of the national team), Aleksandr Kerzhakov (Russian football player, coach of the Russian youth football team), as well as representatives of 54 embassies from all around the world and other guests.
During the Forum, the best Young Players of the Sixth season were awarded: Deo Kalenga Mwenze from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (best forward), Ouorou from Benin (best midfielder), Ivan Volynkin from Wales (best goalkeeper) and Gustavo Cintra Rocha from Brazil (MVP). Sheqayli Ascencion from Aruba became the best Young Journalist of the 2018 Football for Friendship programme. She maintains a blog encouraging the youth of Oceania to become more environmentally conscious. The Forum also hosted a presentation of the book and an autograph session of the previous Season participant, Ananya Kamboj from India. Ananya wrote the book “My journey from Mohali to St. Petersburg” after the Fifth Season of t Football for Friendship, describing her experience as a Young Journalist. There she wrote about the Nine Values of the Programme, which are helping to change the world for the better. On June 14, after the 2018 International Football for Friendship Children’s Forum, Young Players and Journalists took part in the opening ceremony of the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia. At the “Luzhniki” stadium, the children solemnly raised the flags of all the 211 countries and regions participating in the Programme. After that, Young Participants of Football for Friendship watched the opening match between teams of Russia and Saudi Arabia. President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin invited the Young Ambassador from Russia Albert Zinnatov to his skybox in order to watch the opening match together. There the youth had an opportunity to chat with World Cup Champion from Brazil Roberto Carlos and Spanish football player Iker Casillas.
More than 1500 children and youths from 211 countries and regions became the participants of the final events held in Moscow. In total, more than 180 events hosting more than 240,000 young participants were organized during the Sixth Season in different regions of the world. In 2018, the representatives of authorities supported the project. Olga Golodets read a welcoming speech from President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin to participants and guests of the International Children’s Forum. The Prime minister of the Russian Federation Dmitry Medvedev sent a welcoming telegram to participants and guests of the Sixth International Football for Friendship Children’s Forum.
During the briefing on May 23, official representative of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation Maria Zakharova mentioned that the world community recognizes the nowadays’ Football for Friendship Programme as an important humanitarian part of the international social policy of Russia. FIFA traditionally supported the Football for Friendship programme. The organization noticed that the total number of participants and guests of final events held in Moscow reached 5000 people.
Football for Friendship 2019
In 2019, the key events of the Seventh season of the Football for Friendship programme will be held in Madrid from May 28 up to June 2. Traditionally, the composition of mixed teams - International Teams of Friendship – will be determined during Football for Friendship Open Draw. As it was in 2018, the Teams supposed to be named after rare and endangered species of animals. As part of the final events, the International Football for Friendship Forum will be held. The main event of the programme will be the 2019 Football for Friendship World Championship, the final of which will be held on the Madrid's central square Plaza Mayor.
Football for Friendship World Championship
The International Children's football tournament is held within the framework of the Football for Friendship Programme. Teams participating in the championship – Friendship Teams – are formed during an Open Draw. The teams are organized on the principle of Football for Friendship: athletes of different nationalities, sex and physical abilities play in the same team.
International Football for Friendship Children's Forum
At the annual International Children's Forum Football for Friendship Children's Forum, young participants of the project together with adults discuss the promotion and development of the program's values throughout the world. During the Forum, children meet and talk with their peers from other countries, famous footballers, journalists and public figures, and also become young ambassadors who in the future will continue to independently promote universal values among their peers.
International Children’s Press Centre
A special feature of the Football for Friendship program is its own International Children's Press Center. It was first organised under the Football for Friendship Programme in 2014. Young journalists in the press center cover the events of the Programme in their countries: they prepare news for national and international sports media, participate in the creation of materials for the Football for Friendship TV channel, the children's Football for Friendship newspaper and the program's official radio station. The International Children's Press Center unites the winners of the Best Young Journalist national contests, young bloggers, photographers and writers. Young journalists from the press center present their view from within the Programme, implementing the format "children about children".
International Day of Football and Friendship
Under the Football for Friendship Programme, the International Day of Football and Friendship is celebrated on April 25. This holiday was celebrated for the first time in 2014 in 16 countries. On this day, friendly matches, flash mobs, radio marathons, master classes, television shows, open training sessions, etc. took place. More than 50,000 people took part in the celebration.
In 2015, Day of Football and Friendship was celebrated in 24 countries. During the festival, there were friendly football matches and other events. In Germany, Schalke 04 footballers held an open training session, Serbia hosted a TV show, Ukraine – a match between the junior team of Volyn FC and children who are registered at the Lutsk city center of social services for families, children and young people.
In Russia, the Day of Football and Friendship was celebrated on April 25 in 11 cities. Friendly football matches were held in Vladivostok, Novosibirsk, Yekaterinburg, Krasnoyarsk, Barnaul, St. Petersburg and Saransk, to recall the key values of the program. In Krasnoyarsk, Sochi and Rostov-on-Don, a Friendship Relay was held with the participation of torchbearers from the Olympic Torch Relay 2014. In Moscow, with the support of the Sports Federation of the Blind, an Equal Opportunity Tournament was organized. On May 5, the Day of Football and Friendship was celebrated in Nizhny Novgorod and Kazan.
In 2016, Day of Football and Friendship was celebrated in 32 countries. In Russia, it was celebrated in nine cities: Moscow, St. Petersburg, Novosibirsk, Barnaul, Birobidzhan, Irkutsk, Krasnodar, Nizhny Novgorod and Rostov-on-Don. Nizhny Novgorod hosted a friendly match for young footballers from Volga FC, and adult players from the club conducted warm-up and training for the children. In a friendly match in Novosibirsk, disabled children took part – the Novosibirsk region team Yermak-Sibir.
In 2017, Day of Football and Friendship was celebrated in 64 countries. Famous footballers, including Serbian defender Branislav Ivanovich, and Dutch striker Dirk Kuyt, took part in events around the world. In Greece, the event was attended by Theodoras Zagorakis, a winner of the European Football Championship 2004 with his country's national team. In Russia, Zenit FC hosted a special training session for Zakhar Badyuk, the young Ambassador of the Football for Friendship program in 2017. In training, Zenit FC goalkeeper Yury Lodygin gave a high rating to Zakhar's abilities and shared the secrets of goalkeeping with him.
The Nine Values of the Football for Friendship
On May 25, 2013, in the framework of the International Children's Forum, participants from the UK, Germany, Slovenia, Hungary, Serbia, Bulgaria, Greece and Russia wrote an Open Letter in which they formed the values of the Football for Friendship programme - friendship, equality, fairness, health, peace, devotion, victory, and traditions. The Open Letter was received by the heads of the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA), the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) and the International Olympic Committee. In September 2013, Joseph Blatter, during a meeting with Vladimir Putin and Vitaly Mutko, confirmed receipt of the letter and stated that he was ready to support Football for Friendship. In 2015, another value was added to the first eight values of the programme – honour. This value was proposed by the participants from Japan and Kazakhstan.
The Nine Values Cup
The Nine Values Cup is an award of the International Children's Social Program Football for Friendship. Each year the Cup is awarded for the greatest commitment to the values of the project: friendship, equality, fairness, health, peace, devotion, victory, traditions and honour. Fans from all over the world participate in selecting the winner, but the final decision is made by the participants of the Football for Friendship project by voting. Football clubs which are holders of the Nine Values Cup: Barcelona (2015), Bayern Munich (2016), Al Wahda (Special Prize), Real Madrid (2017).
All the activities of the Football for Friendship Programme begin with the exchange of Friendship Bracelets, a symbol of equality and a healthy lifestyle. The bracelet consists of two threads of blue and green, and it can be worn by anyone who shares the program's values.
According to Franz Beckenbauer:
"The symbol of the movement is a two-color bracelet, it is as simple and understandable as the inherent values of the Football for Friendship program".
Young participants in the program have tied Friendship Bracelets on the wrists of famous sportsmen and public figures, including Dick Advocaat, Anatoly Timoshchuk and Luis Netu, Franz Beckenbauer, Luis Fernandev, Didier Drogba, Max Meyer, Fatma Samura, Leon Gorecka, Domenico Krishito, Michel Salgado, Alexander Kerzhakov, Dimas Pirros, Miodrag Bozovic, Adelina Sotnikova, Yuri Kamenets.
Activity of participants between seasons
Young footballers from the Football for Friendship Programme take part in various events outside the official season. In May 2013, players from the Maribor junior football club (Slovenia) held a charity friendly match with Cambodian children. On September 14, 2014 in Sochi, Russian participants in the program talked with Vladimir Putin during the meeting of the President of the Russian Federation with FIFA President Sepp Blatter. In June 2014, French President Francois Hollande invited the Taverni team, a member of the Football for Friendship program, to the Elysee Palace to watch the 2014 FIFA World Cup match between France and Nigeria. In April 2016, Yuri Vashchuk, the ambassador of the Football for Friendship program in 2015, met with the strongest man of Belarus, Kirill Shimko, and young footballers from BATE FC to share their experience of participating in the project. Yuri Vashchuk gave Kirill Shimko a symbolic Friendship Bracelet, thereby passing to him the baton in promoting the projects ideals: friendship, fairness, healthy lifestyle.
Awards and prizes
The Football for Friendship Programme has won various competitions and holds a number of Russian and international prizes. Among them are: "Best Social Projects of Russia" in the category "Development of International Cooperation", International Association of Business Communicators (IABC) Gold Quill Awards in the category "Corporate Social Responsibility" (2016), Saber Awards in the category "The Best Social Project of the Planet" ( 2016), The Drum Social Buzz Awards in the category "Best International Strategy" (2017), The Internationalist Awards for Innovative Digital Marketing Solutions in the category "Best Media Strategy" (2017), "Silver Archer" in the category "The Best Social Project of Russia"(2018), and Grand Prix "Silver Archer" (2018).
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