The Russia 2018 Local Organising Committee (LOC) is launching Generation 2018, a new project aimed at promoting football, an active lifestyle and the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™.

The aim of the project is to unite football fans around their interest in the FIFA World Cup and the fundamental values of the game: mutual respect, tolerance and the principles of fair play. Generation 2018 is defined not by age, but by a desire to become part of preparations for hosting the [world's] biggest football championship, set to take place in eleven cities across Russia in 2018.

Young fans of the FIFA World Cup have become the first champions of the Generation 2018 project. On 13-14 January 2015, a children's mini-football tournament was held on the pitches of the St Petersburg Sports and Concert Complex, which welcomed teams from children's homes, general schools and youth-sports schools in the city of St Petersburg and the St Petersburg Region.

In all, over 600 boys and girls, all born in 2002 and 2003, took part in the tournament. As well as competitions, the young people participating in the tournament were given masterclasses and training sessions by top youth trainers from the St Petersburg regional football federation.

Eleven-year-old Masha, from St Petersburg School 582, helped her team take third spot in the competition among the general school teams, winning a place in spectators’ hearts for her dedication in defence. “I love football, because the friendliest, most close-knit teams turn out to be the best,” said Masha. “I can't wait for the top teams on the planet to come to our city for the World Cup, and I simply must get to the stadium to watch. I'll support everyone, but especially the players from my favourite team, Zenit.”

The task of awarding the winners and the others participants fell to Nikolai Pisarev, Russian Football Union (RFU) Sports Director and Coach of Russia's National Under-21 football team, as well as local football veterans Aleksandr Gorshkov, Denis Ugarov and Vladimir Kazachenok. All the footballers took home 2018 FIFA World Cup prizes.

“Holding tournaments like this is extremely important for the development of football in the country,” FC Zenit’s UEFA Cup and UEFA Super Cup winner, Aleksandr Gorshkov said. “Through mass tournaments you can instil in children a love of the game, self-discipline and respect for their team-mates and opponents, as well as teaching a healthy lifestyle and nurturing real football fans.”

During the course of 2015, the Russia 2018 LOC is planning a number of new events as part of the Generation 2018 project, including those timed to coincide with the 2018 FIFA World Cup Preliminary Draw, set to be held in St Petersburg on 25 July.