Gazprom’s Football for Friendship international children’s project debuts in India
New Delhi, March 23, 2017
One young Indian footballer will play for the first time in the fifth season of the Football for Friendship (F4F) to be held in St. Petersburg, Russia from June 26 to July 4 as the international children's social project makes its debut in India.
This was announced by energy major Gazprom, official partner of FIFA and the 2018 FIFA World Cup while launching the F4F program in India for the first time.
A press release from the organisers said the project's geographical scope had expanded considerably in 2017, with the number of participating countries doubling from 32 to 64.
"This year, India will make their F4F debut. The project has thus brought together young footballers from four continents: Africa, Eurasia, and the Americas.
The release said the fifth season would be held in a new format. Instead of representing football clubs from different countries, young players will be divided into eight international Friendship Teams.
The teams’ composition and the playing positions of the participants were determined by a draw procedure. Individual player selection will take place at the Friendship Relay Race. The F4F International Organizing Committee will join efforts with national football federations to select young athletes for the 2017 competition. Eight-player teams will comprise boys and girls aged 12 years old, including those with disabilities, the release said. The draw procedure took place via an online conference.
On April 25, the project will be joined by tens of thousands of children and adults celebrating the International Day of Football and Friendship. Each of them will wear a Friendship Bracelet, the official symbol of F4F, with blue and green threads interwoven to symbolize equality and healthy living.
On July 1, St. Petersburg will host the Gazprom Football for Friendship International Championship, bringing together players of different ethnicities, genders and physical capabilities. July 2 will see the Fifth Football for Friendship International Children's Forum, which will allow youngsters to discuss with famous footballers and journalists how to promote the project’s values around the world.
The fifth season of the F4F project will conclude with a visit by the participating children to the final match of the FIFA Confederations Cup 2017 at the St. Petersburg Stadium.
“Gazprom pursues global projects that look forward into the future, and the F4F project is closely aligned with that goal. In a mere four years, the number of participating countries grew eightfold. This year, St. Petersburg will host young footballers from as many as four continents. It means that the values of our social project are meaningful and relevant to children and teenagers all around the globe,” said Alexey Miller, Chairman of the Gazprom Management Committee.
“Gazprom’s initiative will give a voice to children from around the world and we wholeheartedly endorse the goals and key values of the F4F project. We are delighted to support the initiatives of the F4F Organizing Committee until the 2018 FIFA World Cup,” said Philippe Le Floc’h, FIFA’s Chief Commercial Officer.
The F4F international children's social project is implemented by Gazprom within the Gazprom for Children program. The project 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 project’s most important event, bringing together young footballers from different countries who discuss worldwide promotion of the key values with media professionals and famous football players.
The F4F 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 project’s values. The winner is chosen by young F4F ambassadors through a vote held in all countries participating in the project.
Hundreds of young athletes become ambassadors for the F4F movement and its values in their respective countries. The Friendship Bracelet, the official symbol of F4F, is worn by over 400,000 people across the world, including children, adults, well-known athletes and journalists, performers, political figures, and heads of state.
In 2017, the project’s participating countries are: 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.