The first Football for Friendship International Children's Forum organized by Gazprom within the Company's eponymous social project was rounded off today at the Gazprom headquarters.
The meeting was led by Alexander Medvedev, Deputy Chairman of the Gazprom Management Committee, Director General of Gazprom Export and Franz Beckenbauer, an official ambassador for the project. They pointed out that Gazprom would continue implementing Football for Friendship. “Our project aroused keen interest worldwide. According to the responses from the media, football community and participants themselves, it is easy to see that this is a good and important initiative. We have already received a lot of new requests from children and youth teams from different parts of the world to take part in the project. There is no doubt that we will continue developing this project and we hope that yet more boys and girls for whom football became a part of their lives long ago will get involved in the project,” Alexander Medvedev said.
The meeting participants stressed that the Forum held this May in London had been the key event of the project. Taking part in the Forum were 31 children's and youth football teams from eight countries: Russia, Bulgaria, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Serbia, Slovenia and the UK. Young sportsmen discussed the ways of promoting the values most important for their generation in their countries. The Forum resulted in signing an Open Letter addressed to Joseph Blatter, President of FIFA, Michel Platini, President of UEFA and Jacques Rogge, President of the International Olympic Committee. The Letter outlines eight principles of football that the Football for Friendship participants are committed to, namely, traditions, peace, friendship, victory, equality, health, justice and devotion.
Twelve-year-old Andrey Rusakov from Moscow school No. 877 shared his impressions of the trip to the Forum. “This trip to London was a real holiday for me and my teammates. We met children from different countries of the world and it turned out we had much in common. And what is most important is that they do love football as much as we do. We walked around London together, we worked at the Forum and we rooted at the UEFA Champions League final at the famous Wembley Stadium. We parted being real friends,” he said.
“I would like such concepts as equality and mutual respect to be of crucial importance for football players and sports fans as well. It is wonderful that not only do the young participants of the Football for Children project follow these ideas, but also promote them among their peers. Making the most important human values more popular among children and teenagers who are keen on football – that is how we see our task. And the Football for Children project successfully copes with it,” said Franz Beckenbauer.
On April 18, 2013 Gazprom launched the Football for Friendship international social project within the Gazprom for Children global program. The project is aimed at instilling modern values, namely, respect for other cultures and nationalities, equality, as well as interest in a healthy lifestyle into the younger generation through passion for football.
Football for Friendship is held under the auspices of Franz Beckenbauer, one of the most famous football players in the world.
Taking part in the project are children's and youth football teams. A total of four groups were made up of boys and girls between 10 and 16 years old. The first group comprises 14 teams from 11 Russian cities hosting the 2018 FIFA World Cup matches, including two teams from orphanages and the team from the Zenit FC sports school. The second group consists of football teams from sports schools and academies on the basis of the clubs sponsored by Gazprom: Chelsea (UK), Schalke 04 (Germany), Crvena Zvezda (Serbia). The third group comprises the teams who won the Children's Spartakiada Games of Gazprom and the Fakel children's creativity competition. The fourth group includes the teams from the South Stream member countries (Bulgaria, Hungary, Slovenia and Greece).
Gazprom is an official partner of the UEFA Champions League for the seasons 2012 to 2015 and the UEFA Super Cup 2012, 2013 and 2014.