Moscow, May 31, 2021. The Ninth Season of the Gazprom International Children’s Social Programme Football for Friendship has finished. The key values of the programme are friendship, equality, fairness, health, peace, devotion, victory, traditions, and honour. 12-14-year old girls and boys from over 200 countries have joined the new season of the programme.
One of the distinctive features of the season became the 2021 Football for Friendship eWorld Championship that was held on the platform of the free multiuser football simulator Football for Friendship World. The application was launched in December 2020 and is available on various platforms in 27 languages. The game provides competitions in mixed international team, according to the principle of Football for Friendship. Team Argali represented by players from Aruba, Belize, Guatemala, Costa Rica, and Mexico became the winners of the final game of the championship. Yazn Taha, a 14-year-old commentator from Syria, commented on the game.
Young Journalists from Bangladesh, Bolivia, Hungary, and the USA were named the best journalists following their work in the International Children’s Press Center, and the articles, interviews, and reports they’ve prepared were published by the leading sports media in different countries.
Coaches and Young Players from over 350 football academies and sports schools participated in the sports, ecological, and educational events of the programme. Social initiatives of academies from Afghanistan, India, Sri Lanka, and Togo became winners of the International Football for Friendship Award. Another 14 football academies received grants to develop children’s football and promote the values of the programme among their students, including academies from Bolivia, Canada, Columbia, Uruguay, Paraguay, Puerto Rico, Costa Rica, Trinidad and Tobago, Belize, Aruba, Guatemala and Mexico.
As part of the final events of the season, participants set the third for the programme GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS™ title for the most users to visit a virtual stadium (during the Football for Friendship eWorld Championship). Previously, the programme has received GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS™ titles for the most nationalities in a football training session in history and the most users at a football video hangout.
Viktor Zubkov, Gazprom Chairman of the Board of Directors: “I’m happy that Football for Friendship unites more and more friends and supporters around the world. Not only among children but their parents, as well as football clubs and academies. Gazprom carries out many social initiatives, including in sports. In my opinion, Football for Friendship is one of the most needed and important international social projects, especially today.”
Roberto Carlos, Global Ambassador of Football for Friendship: “I was happy to become the Global Ambassador of Football for Friendship this year. The common relevant values promoted by the project are important for the youth and their future. As a professional player and now a coach, I know how important it is to not only be a good football player, but also have strong character and be able to communicate with people from different countries, representatives of different cultures. This way, Football for Friendship truly makes our world a better place.”
The International Children’s Social Programme Football for Friendship has been organised and run by Gazprom since 2013. Over the previous nine seasons, the programme has united 211 countries and regions, over 16,000 participants and 6 million supporters.
Participants of the programme are Young Players and Young Journalists – boys and girls aged between 12 and 14, including children with disabilities. Young Players represent different countries and cultures united in the mixed teams. They show that nationality, gender, and physical abilities aren’t a barrier to becoming a team. Young Journalists cover the events of the programme in the International Children’s Press Centre. All former participants later become Young Ambassadors for the programme and continue to share their experience and to promote the universal human values which Football for Friendship stands for: friendship, equality, fairness, health, peace, devotion, victory, traditions, and honour.
UEFA, FIFA, football federations and the world’s leading football clubs, international charity foundations, famous athletes, politicians, and artists support Football for Friendship. The children’s social programme has received over 60 national and international awards in the fields of social responsibility, sports, and communications.
In 2021, Football for Friendship was held online. A special digital platform united thousands of players of different ages and became a basis for international children’s competitions, as well as a gaming platform where anyone can train, unite in mixed international teams and play their favourite game in the Football for Friendship format without leaving their home.
Programme’s official internet resources: