The Ninth Season of the Gazprom International Children’s Social Programme, Football for Friendship, has finished. The key values of the programme are friendship, equality, fairness, health, peace, devotion, victory, traditions and honour. 12-14-year-old girls and boys from over 200 countries took part in this season’s programme.
One of the distinctive features of this year’s season was that the 2021 Football for Friendship eWorld Championship was played on the multi-user football simulator Football for Friendship World. The application was launched in December 2020 and is available free of charge in 27 languages on various platforms. The F4F eWorld Championship was contested by mixed international teams in accordance with the principles of Football for Friendship. Team Argali, represented by players from Aruba, Belize, Guatemala, Costa Rica and Mexico, were the winners of the final game of the championship. Yaan Taha, a 14-year-old commentator from Syria, commentated on the game.
In recognition of their work in the International Children’s Press Centre, Young Journalists from Bangladesh, Bolivia, Hungary and the USA were named as “Best journalists”, and the articles, interviews, and reports they prepared were published by the leading sports media in different countries.
Coaches and Young Players from over 350 football academies and sports schools participated in the sports activities of the programme, but also in environmental and educational projects. The International Football for Friendship Award went to football academies in Afghanistan, India, Sri Lanka and Togo for their social projects. Another 14 football academies received grants to develop children’s football and promote the values of the programme among their students, including academies from Bolivia, Canada, Columbia, Trinidad and Tobago, Paraguay and Puerto Rico.
In the course of the final events of the season, participants achieved the programme’s third GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS™ title for the most users to visit a virtual stadium. Previously, the programme has been awarded GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS™ titles for the most nationalities in a football training session in history and the most users at a football video hangout.
Viktor Zubkov, Gazprom Chairman of the Board of Directors: “I am happy that Football for Friendship is gaining more and more friends and supporters around the world—not only amongst children but also their parents, football clubs and academies too. Gazprom carries out social initiatives in many areas, including sport. In my opinion, Football for Friendship is one of the most needed and important international social projects, especially today.”
Roberto Carlos, Global Ambassador of Football for Friendship: “I was happy to become the Global Ambassador of Football for Friendship this year. The universal relevant values promoted by the project are important for young people and their future. As a professional player and now a coach, I know how important it is not only to be a good football player, but also to have a strong character and to be able to communicate with people from different countries as representatives of different cultures. In this way, Football for Friendship truly makes our world a better place.”