press release: Europe and Asia to meet within FOOTBALL FOR FRIENDSHIP international children’s social project of GAZPROM

19 march 2015

Today GAZPROM, the official sponsor of the UEFA Champions League opened the third season of the FOOTBALL FOR FRIENDSHIP international children’s social project.
Several major events will be held within the project. On April 25 all the participating countries will celebrate the International Day of Football and Friendship.

From June 4 to 7 Berlin will host an international street football tournament and the 3rd FOOTBALL FOR FRIENDSHIP international children’s forum. At the end of the event the Forum participants will visit the UEFA Champions League Final 2015 at the Berlin Olympiastadion.

The geography of the third FOOTBALL FOR FRIENDSHIP season will be considerably extended. For the first time young footballers from Asia will take part in the project, and the total number of participating countries will increase from 16 to 24, namely Austria, Belarus, Belgium, Bulgaria, China, Croatia, the Czech Republic, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Japan, Kazakhstan, the Netherlands, Poland, Russia, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Switzerland, Turkey, Ukraine and the UK.

“Along with other social initiatives of our Company, FOOTBALL FOR FRIENDSHIP is intended to promote harmonious development of the younger generation. We want to foster children’s interest in a healthy lifestyle and an ambition for achieving results by joint efforts. The project hinges on the idea of friendship and respect to other cultures. These simple unshakable values define the social welfare. For us, FOOTBALL FOR FRIENDSHIP is a contribution to the future in the first place,” said Alexey Miller, Chairman of the GAZPROM Management Committee.

“It is a pleasure for me to notice that this year FOOTBALL FOR FRIENDSHIP has stepped beyond Europe, and involved China, Japan and Kazakhstan for participation. This is one more proof that the universal human values do not have any borders and are relevant for anybody. Boys and girls, who participated in the 1st and the 2nd FOOTBALL FOR FRIENDSHIP Forums entered into the spirit of mutual respect and became ambassadors of ideas of equality and a healthy lifestyle. Their shining eyes were speaking better than words. I’m sure that young athletes, participating in the project, will do their best to make this world better,” said Franz Beckenbauer, the global Ambassador of the project.

Background
The FOOTBALL FOR FRIENDSHIP international children’s social project is implemented by GAZPROM within the GAZPROM for Children program. The project is aimed at developing the youth football game, fostering tolerance and propagating friendship among children from various countries. The key values supported and promoted by the participants include friendship, equality, justice, health, peace, devotion, victory and traditions. World football legend Franz Beckenbauer is the global Ambassador of the project.

The annual FOOTBALL FOR FRIENDSHIP international children’s forum is the major event of the project, bringing together 12- to 14-year-old players from top football clubs. The key project principles were outlined by young delegates from 8 European countries during the first Forum held in London on May 25, 2013. The second Forum uniting the representatives from 16 countries took place in Lisbon between May 23 and 25, 2014.

During the FOOTBALL FOR FRIENDSHIP Forum young footballers have a chance to communicate with their peers from other countries as well as famous athletes and cultural figures. At the end of the Forum the participants traditionally visit the UEFA Champions League Final.