Gazprom, official partner of FIFA and the 2018 FIFA World Cup™, announced the opening of the Sixth Season of the Football for Friendship (F4F) International Children's Social Project.
The project has been launched in Thailand for the first time. The goal of the programme is to involve the young generation throughout the world in promoting the most important human values among their peers - friendship, equality, peace and respect for different cultures and nationalities.
The Football for Friendship (F4F) Open Draw was held in Moscow. The program has expanded from 64 countries in 2017 to 211 countries and regions in 2018. 32 International Teams of Friendship were formed during the Open Draw, as well as playing roles for each Young Player from each country (goalkeeper, defender, midfielder or forward) were determined. These 32 teams will compete at the Football for Friendship World Championship on 12 June 2018.
As per the Open Draw, the young ambassador from Thailand will play as a “defender” in the International Team of Friendship. The final events of the season will be held in Moscow, Russia from 8-15 June 2018.
The teams are organized using the "football for friendship" principle - athletes of different nationalities, different genders and different physical abilities will play in one team. Age of players is 12. Each International mixed Team of Friendship will be trained by Young Coaches - football players of 14-16 year olds from different countries. More than 5000 media from around the world will cover the programme events, as well as the F4F International Children's Press Center, consisting of young 12-year-old journalists from 211 countries and regions. National selections of participants who will become Young Ambassadors of peace, friendship and equality in their countries have started all over the world.
The day after the Football for Friendship World Championship, Young Ambassadors will meet at the most important event — The Sixth International Football for Friendship Children’s Forum, where they will discuss ways of promoting the programme’s key values across the globe.
During the International Friendship Camp, Young Players under the guidance of Young Coaches and under the supervision of famous players will be learning of F4F key values in the Nine Values School. The UN considers this initiative as a unique educational programme.
As an ecological initiative of Football for Friendship all the 32 International Teams of Friendship named after endangered animals of all the continents of the world.
"The 6th season of the International children's social programme Football for Friendship is officially open. This year, F4F is supported by 211 countries and regions! For the very first time, young athletes from all parts of the world where football is played will meet on the same field. We live in an age where people all over the world seek to unite behind the principles of equality and respect for each other. The project is a crucial element in this process. Football for Friendship gives that opportunity to everyone," notes Viktor Zubkov. Chairman of the Board of Directors of PJSC Gazprom.
"We were glad to support this unique initiative from our FIFA partner Gazprom," said Fatma Samoura, FIFA Secretary General. "The forum is a perfect example of how football can be used to open doors for girls and boys from all backgrounds, a mission that FIFA supports actively."
The video version of the Open Draw is available on the F4F official YouTube channel https://www.youtube.com/user/FOOTBALL4FRIENDSHIP .
Since 2013, PJSC Gazprom has been organizing the International Children’s social programme Football for Friendship. The key values promoted by the programme participants include friendship, equality, fairness, health, peace, devotion, victory, tradition and honour. The participants are Young Players (girls and boys, including those physically challenged), as well as Young Journalists covering the F4F events within the framework of the The Football for Friendship International Children’s Press Center. Geographical scope of the programme expand annually: from 8 countries in 2013 to 211 countries in 2018. For the past five years, more than 3,700 people have participated in the programme. Football for Friendship is supported by FIFA, UEFA, International Olympic Committee, football federations of various countries, international children's charity funds, and world's leading football clubs.
32 International Teams of Friendship were formed during the Open Draw, as well as playing roles for each Young Player from each country (goalkeeper, defender, midfielder or forward) were determined. After definition of the roles for the Young Players, their coaches will be selected this way: 19 countries which will represent the Young Coaches were defined in an unpredictable manner as a result of an Open Draw, 11 coaches will be chosen from the cities hosting the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™, 2 Young Coaches will be selected from the best participants of the previous seasons of the Football for Friendship programme.