Fourth International Football for Friendship Forum brings together young footballers from three continents

1 June 2016

Fourth International Football for Friendship Forum brings together young footballers from three continents

Milan hosted today the Fourth International Children's Forum as part of Football for Friendship, Gazprom’s large-scale social project. The project is aimed at developing youth football and fostering tolerance and respect toward different cultures and ethnicities. This year, the Forum brought together young football players from Africa, Asia, Europe, and South America.

The Forum’s participants met with Franz Beckenbauer, the Global Ambassador of the Football for Friendship project, FC Schalke 04’s midfielders Maximilian Meyer and Leon Goretzka, and Michel Salgado, UEFA Ambassador at the Forum. The guests received blue-and-green wristbands, which had become an international symbol ofequality and respect thanks to the Football for Friendship project.

The Forum culminated with the awarding of the Nine Values Cup. This unique prize is presented annually to one of professional football clubs for outstanding achievements in social responsibility. Football fans from all over the world are involved in selecting the winner. Yet, the final decision is made by the Football for Friendship project’s participants through a vote. This year, the Cup was awarded to FC Bayern (Munich). The Football for Friendship project’s participants commended the football club for its support of children with disabilities, its health care initiatives aimed at children in different countries, and its assistance to those in need.

The Forum concluded with the final match of the International Street Football Tournament for children. Slovenia team «Maribor» took home the first prize. Participants and guests sang Larger Than Life, the project’s unofficial hymn, and, in keeping with tradition, attended the UEFA Champions League Final.

Over 200 journalists from the world’s leading media covered the Forum, as did young reporters from participating countries who worked at the International Children’s Press Center.

Global operator of the project in all countries is a Communication Group AGT (Russia).

“Thirty-two countries are taking part in the Football for Friendship project. Among them are Syria and Turkey, Armenia and Azerbaijan. The number of participants is growing every year. It means that children value peace and friendship above all else, regardless of cultural and traditional differences. Not only do boys and girls learn to respect one another, but also they themselves become the champions of fundamental human values. The Football for Friendship project helps them achieve that. I am convinced that together we will make the world a better place,” said Alexey Miller, Chairman of the Gazprom Management Committee.

“For several years it has been my pleasure to support as global ambassador the Football for Friendship program, which is promoting key human values, important for wellbeing of any society. This is why now I’m especially glad to know that the award, which impersonates the F4F program, its goals and targets, is granted to Bayern Munich. Nine Values Cup is an appraisal made by the most open-minded audience, children. This makes the Cup especially valuable award for any club,” said Franz Beckenbauer.

"Football for friendship" miraculously touches something in the soul of every human, relate to it. A huge number of services, agencies, and companies and simply sympathetic people of different countries free of charge included in the decision of those or other emerging situations. In Algeria, for example, during the passport control, they discovered the mistake in the visa of one of the young participants. We asked the Italian Consulate in Algeria to quickly make changes in documents simultaneously, Alitalia agreed to delay a flight to Italy for 40 min. In order for the delegation from Damascus was able to fly to Milan, we have more than 10 times crossed the border of Syria – Lebanon (22 each time passing a checkpoint), and the Consulate of Italy in Beirut went on a temporary change of the rules of issuing visas for this delegation. To aid in the implementation of the "Football for friendship" in Syria have actively joined the journalists from different media of Syrian origin. It's just great that we have managed to create international visibility the platform, where open and very positive advance the idea of national tolerance, respect and peaceful coexistence", - said Vladimir Serov, the global head of the international child welfare program of PJSC "Gazprom "Football for friendship", Director of business development and international relations Communication group AGT (Russia).

Background

The Football for Friendship international children's social project is implemented by Gazprom within the Gazprom for Children initiative. The program 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 most important event of the program, bringing together 12- to 14-year-old players from top football clubs. The first Forum was held in London on May 25, 2013.

The Football for Friendship 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 program's values. The winner is chosen by young ambassadors of Football for Friendship through a vote that is held in all countries participating in the project.

The Football for Friendship Forum gives young footballers a chance to communicate with their peers from other countries, as well as with famous athletes and cultural figures. Traditionally, the participants attend the UEFA Champions League Final after the Forum is over.

In 2016, the project brought together young football players from the following 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 United Kingdom, and Vietnam.

In 2016, the Football for Friendship project was supported by over 100,000 children and adults from various countries, over 2,000 journalists, and over 100 famous athletes, performers, and TV presenters. Support for the project was announced by leading football clubs, including Atletico de Madrid (Spain), Beijing (China), Besiktas (Turkey), Dinamo Zagreb (Croatia), Inter Milan (Italy), Kairat (Kazakhstan), Rapid (Austria), Sparta Prague (Czech Republic), Tokyo (Japan), West Ham United (UK), and Zenit (Russia).

Gazprom is a global energy company focused on geological exploration, production, transportation, storage, processing and sales of gas (including as NGV fuel), gas condensate and oil, as well as generation and distribution of heat and electric power. The Company operates in Russia, Africa, Middle East, Europe, and Latin America, as well as Central, South and Southeast Asia.

Gazprom is the world's largest company in terms of natural gas reserves and production output, with gas delivered to consumers in Russia and more than 30 other countries. The Company is among Russia's four largest oil producers. It also owns major power-generating assets in Russia. In addition, Gazprom holds the leading position in the global thermal energy market.

In addition to pursuing an active business development strategy, Gazprom pays great attention to social projects. The Company supports numerous sports organizations and events on a national and international scale. Among other things, Gazprom is the official partner of the UEFA Champions League, offering support to the UEFA Super Cup and a whole range of world-famous football clubs, including Russia's Zenit, Germany's Schalke 04, and Serbia's Crvena Zvezda.