The Fifth International Children's Forum "Football for Friendship" with the participation of young footballers from 64 countries of the world was held In St. Petersburg.

17 July 2017

The Fifth International Children's Forum "Football for Friendship" with the participation of young footballers from 64 countries of the world was held In St. Petersburg.

The final events of the 5th season of the International Social Program of PJSC "Gazprom" "Football for Friendship" took place In St. Petersburg. The program was implemented within the framework of the social initiative of PJSC Gazprom, the official partner of FIFA and the FIFA 2018 ™ World Cup, and covers 64 countries in Europe, Asia, Africa, the Americas. The global operator of the program in all countries is AGT communication agency.

The event was attended by more than 1,000 guests from 64 countries of the world - young footballers and young journalists (12 year old boys and girls, including those with disabilities), journalists from leading international media, football stars, Olympic champions. And the Paralympic Games, FIFA legends, FIFA leaders, the Russian Olympic Committee and international children's charity foundations, and the heads of football federations. The most important values of the program are peace, equality and a healthy lifestyle.

"We have created a project in which young players act as key actors. Our idea was supported by many athletes, journalists and public organizations. This year, a record number of 64 countries participated in the Football for Friendship. This allowed the children from all over the world to demonstrate their commitment to equality and peace and, in fact, to act as young ambassadors of friendship, "said the Chairman of the Board of Directors of PJSC Gazprom Zubkov.

The fifth season of the program "Football for Friendship" was held in a new format, uniting together representatives from Europe, Asia, Africa, South and North America. According to the results of the draw at the beginning of the season, young football players were combined into eight international friendship teams. The teams met in St. Petersburg at the International Football Championship for friendship in the framework of the final events of the season.

"The Gazprom initiative carries an important humanitarian mission, and shows that regardless of the situation of life, all people are equal and should have the same opportunities," Yuri Kamenets (28 years old, Russia) shared his impressions of the children's championship, the athlete using a wheelchair, the current European champion Rugby in wheelchairs.

In 2017 for the first time the Relay Race of friendship was launched - the national stages of selection of young football players and young journalists in all participating countries. Results and names of participants were announced on April 25 on the International Day of Football and Friendship, when by tradition hundreds of thousands of children and adults joined the program participants and, in the framework of the celebration, tied the official symbol of the program - the Friendship Bracelet.

"Pakistan participates in the" Football for friendship "program for the first time and we are happy to join a big football family. It's amazing that the simple tying of two threads of blue and green unites hundreds of thousands of people around the world. I hope that someday we will be able to host the final events of "Football for Friendship" in our country, "said representative of the Pakistan Football Federation Fahad Khan (Pakistan).

During the fifth season the International Children's Press Center of the program "Football for Friendship" worked, young journalists covered the events of the program in their countries - they prepared news and materials for the leading international sports media, participated in creating materials for the international TV channel "Football for Friendship" , The daily children's newspaper, the official radio channel of the program and children's Internet resources. Materials were prepared in 43 languages. More than 2,000 journalists from all over the world covered the final events of the International Children's Social Program "Football for Friendship".

"Thanks to a unique opportunity, I felt like a real journalist, I was lucky to talk about the most important problems on a par with adults and my voice was heard by millions of people," said Emily Grace Kerber, a young journalist for the Fifth Season of the Football for Friendship program (12 years old, USA).

"It's a great honor to participate in such an event for the fourth time in a row. I witnessed how "Football for Friendship", year after year and continent after continent expands its presence and becomes truly a global program. Every time I am amazed at how a children's tournament changes personality, vision and values for children from all over the world, and how it changes the lives of boys and girls forever. Everyone will remember this unique experience, "said Peter Barabas, Chief Editor of Euronews.

In the past season the famous British artist, master of comics Bill Espri joined the program. Inspired by the idea of the program, the artist released an exclusive series of comic books "Friendship", which is about the friendship of the dog Freddy and the kitten of Freida. The comic book heroes became the official talismans of the "Football for Friendship" program.

"One of the participants of past seasons told me about the program. Having studied the information on official resources, I contacted the global organizing committee and offered my help. Together we managed to create a new amazing story in comic books, which the children loved so much. I am happy to contribute to the development of the "Football for Friendship", which I hope will develop, and continue to unite people around the world, "said Bill Espri (UK).

Whithin the framework of preparation for the Championship and the Forum, children and adults from all over the world took part in sports and educational three-day training camps in St. Petersburg. For them, football training was conducted under the guidance of young coaches, master classes of world football stars, gaming classes at the School of Nine Values, Olympic lessons with speeches by the leaders and ambassadors of the Russian Olympic Committee.

"Participants have a unique opportunity to change their lives in the program" Football for Friendship ". The international project of Gazprom stands aloof from the usual charity programs. This is a truly social program that can change the future of society for the better. We participate in the development of the program in several countries and are happy to be a part of this tremendous initiative, "said Ivan Ivanov, head of the International Children's Fund SOS Children's Villages in Bulgaria.

"Real football should be more than just a game, it should become a real opportunity to change society for the better. Participants of the "Football for Friendship" demonstrate by their participation to the world that equality and friendship have no boundaries. We managed to create a platform on the international arena that is meaningful, where the ideas of equality, respect and peaceful coexistence are promoted by the participants openly and with a notable result. "Football for friendship" is a combination of world competitions as a part of national teams of friendship, humanitarian and educational program, and as a culmination - an international children's forum where young participants and famous athletes from around the world tell about their views on the most important human values, - said Global Director of the International Children's Social Program of PJSC Gazprom, Football for Friendship, Director of Business Development and International Communications AGT Vladimir Serov.

"We are happy to support the unique initiative of the official partner of FIFA and the 2018 ™ Football World Cup of Gazprom. The Forum is a perfect example of how football provides equal opportunities for girls and boys, and the FIFA mission to support such initiatives, "commented Fatma Secretary General Fatma Samura.

Traditionally, all the young participants of the final events of the International Children's Social Program of PJSC "Gazprom" "Football for Friendship" attend the football match. The guys supported the teams of Chile and Germany at the finals of the Confederations Cup FIFA, which was held at the new stadium "St. Petersburg".

The international children's social project "Football for friendship" has been implemented by PJSC Gazprom since 2013 and aims at fostering tolerance and respect for different cultures and nationalities among children from different countries. The key values that the participants support and promote are friendship, equality, justice, health, peace, loyalty, victory, tradition and honor. The AGT communication agency has been the global operator of the international children's social project of PJSC "Gazprom" "Football for Friendship" for all years.

About the project "Football for friendship":

The international children's social project "Football for Friendship" is being implemented by PJSC Gazprom since 2013.

The goal of the project is to promote tolerance and respect for different cultures and nationalities among children from different countries. The key values that the participants support and promote are friendship, equality, justice, health, peace, loyalty, victory, tradition and honor.

The main event of the project is the annual International Children's Forum "Football for Friendship", at which young football players from all over the world get together and discuss issues of observing values around the world with media representatives and famous football players.

Special award of the project "Football for friendship" - the Cup of nine values. This is a unique trophy, which is annually awarded to one of the professional football clubs for the implementation of social initiatives that embody the values of the project. The winner is chosen by the young ambassadors of the project by voting, which takes place in all countries participating in the "Football for Friendship".

Thousands of participants around the world join the project annually. During the implementation of the project, its geography has expanded significantly - from 8 countries in 2013 to 64 countries in 2017. Hundreds of young football players become ambassadors of the movement "Football for Friendship" and its values in their countries. Symbol of the project "Football for friendship" - Bracelet of friendship - is worn by more than 400 thousand children and adults around the world, including famous athletes, journalists, artists, politicians, presidents of different countries.

The countries participating in the project in 2017 are Austria, Azerbaijan, Algeria, Argentina, Armenia, Bangladesh, Belarus, Belgium, Bulgaria, Bolivia, Brazil, the United Kingdom, Hungary, Venezuela, Denmark, Egypt, India, Greece, Iraq, Iran, Iceland, Spain, Italy, Kazakhstan, Kirghizia, China, Republic of Korea, Latvia, Libya, Lithuania, Macedonia, Mexico, Mozambique, Netherlands, Norway, Pakistan, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Romania, Serbia, Singapore, Slovakia , Slovenia, Syria, USA, Tajikistan, Tanzania, Turkmenistan, Turkey, Ukraine, Uruguay, Uzb Finland, France, Croatia, Czech Republic, Switzerland, Estonia, South Africa, Japan.

The fifth season of the project was held in a new format. Instead of teams representing football clubs from different countries, young players were united in eight international teams - National Friendship Teams. Teams of eight people were formed from boys and girls, including those with a disability, at the age of 12. The International Organizing Committee of the project "Football for Friendship" together with the national football federations selected one representative from each country.