Inspired by the United Nations' International Day of Friendship, which took place on Sunday 30 July, it seems apt to highlight an extraordinary event dedicated to friendship and football that was organised during the recent FIFA Conferedations Cup 2017 in Russia.
The Gazprom Football For Friendship 2017 International Children's Forum, implemented by Official FIFA Partner Gazprom, was held in Saint Petersburg.
The event was attended by more than 1,000 guests from 64 countries. They included young participants of different genders, ethnic origins and physical capacities, journalists representing top international mass media, football stars, Olympic and Paralympic Champions, FIFA Legends, members of FIFA's senior management, the International Olympic Committee and international children’s charity funds, and the heads of football federations.
The main programme values, which all guests supported, were peace, equality and healthy lifestyle.
All the young participants of the Gazprom Football For Friendship International Children's Social Programme went together with new friends to the football match. This year they had the chance to watch the national teams of Chile and Germany contest the FIFA Confederations Cup final, which was held at the new Saint Petersburg Arena Stadium.
"We launched a project where young football players are key figures and this initiative has been supported by many sportsmen, members of the media and civil society organisations," said Victor Zubkov, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Gazprom. "This year we saw a record number of 64 participating countries. It gave a chance for children from all over the world to demonstrate their commitment to the ideas of equality and peace and become true Ambassadors of the Football For Friendship Programme."
"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."