April 25 is the International Day of Football and Friendship. This year, it was celebrated in schools and sports academies of more than 50 countries of Europe, Asia, Africa, North and South America. The activities involved meetings, training, and friendly matches with participation of the Young Ambassadors and Coaches of the Gazprom International Children’s Social Programme Football for Friendship, famous football players and officials.
More than 40,000 participants have taken part in more than 200 events within the International Day of Football and Friendship. Such countries as Armenia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Belarus, Bolivia, France, Italy, Japan, Kazakhstan, Lithuania, Moldavia, Nigeria, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Syria, Tajikistan, the UK, the USA, Uzbekistan have held the International Football and Friendship Lesson. In Estonia and Latvia, the Open Lesson was held together with a training session for the young football players. In Russia, it was celebrated in schools, football academies and clubs of the 11 host-cities of the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia.
In Bulgaria, Macedonia, and Romania schoolkids and Young Ambassadors of F4F met famous football players. Thereafter, the coach of the Romanian Football Federation Nana Falemi was interviewed by one of the programme’s Young Journalists.
Famous Serbian TV-host and F4F Ambassador Ivan Ivanović and Serbian football player of Crvena Zvezda FC Vujadin Savić have visited children undergoing cancer diseases treatment. They told the children about the Nine Values of Football for Friendship such as friendship, equality, health.
“To my mind, youth sports need active support from professional football players. Celebrating the International Day of Football and Friendship not only lets us spread the most important values but also generates new football traditions. Creating and preserving traditions, passing on the experience are some of the most important elements of professional growth and success in any aspect of our lives,” says Mike Puig, CEO of the Soccer Barcelona Youth Academy and the International F4F Forum speaker.
The International Day of Football and Friendship was established in 2014 within the Gazprom International Children’s Social Programme Football for Friendship which involves Young Participants from all over the world. On this day friendly matches, workshops, meetings with football stars are held; participants exchange Friendship Bracelets with famous athletes and public figures. The final events of the F4F Seventh Season will take place in Madrid from May 28 to June 2, 2019.