Russia’s Gazprom, a majority state-owned oil and gas company, has launched the 8th season of the 'Football For Friendship' programme, which this year will unite more than 10,000 kids from across the world. This year, due to the coronavirus pandemic, the events will be held online, once again proving that although we may be physically distant, our hearts remain together.
32 teams consisting of boys and girls from different countries with different physical abilities, including handicapped children, will take part in the online football tournament, held via the Football For Friendship digital platform.
Not only has it become the platform for a cybersports competition, it will allow children to train, unite into teams and play their favourite game without leaving the house. This will provide a unique opportunity for children with disabilities.
"Football for Friendship has always been open to participants with different physical abilities. The Football for Friendship Digital Platform contributes to the key goal of the project – to unite people all over the world, allowing everyone to get out onto the football field and experience incredible emotions with new friends", said Diogo Netto, Manager of Technical Development and Social Responsibility of the Brazilian national football team.
While young athletes compete for the title of 'best team', other children try their hand at journalism and work as reporters covering the event. They will conduct interviews with coaches and athletes, ask tricky questions during press conferences and of course speak with guests that will attend the event, including famous football players.
Over the past seven years, Football For Friendship has united more than 6,000 people from around the world. In 2019, the participants of the programme set a Guinness World Record for the most nationalities at a football training session in history.
"I’ve participated in the programme several times. It’s an amazing experience that helped me make friends from different countries. The news about the Eighth Season is great: even when we are apart, we will all be able to get together and play football safely," said Rene Rantuša Lampreht, a young Coach from Slovenia.