The 7th season of the Football for Friendship international children's social programme organized by Gazprom – an official partner of the UEFA Champions League, took place in Madrid from May 28 through June 2.
The events in Madrid brought together more than 800 children and adults from Europe, Asia, Africa, and the Americas. The Bolivian delegation included coaches and three children under the care of the Alalay Charity Foundation, as well as sports journalists. For the first time Lucas Calderón, the 12-year-old novice reporter from Bolivia, took part in the work of the children’s press center at Football for Friendship. According to the outcomes of the 7th season, he was acknowledged the best young reporter.
Football for Friendship World Championship has traditionally become the key event of the 7th season programme. The Navalcarbon Stadium held the qualification phase, play-offs, quarterfinals, and the semi-final on 31 May. A football training session involving sportsmen from 57 countries was held as part of the qualifying games. It was recognized as the most multinational football training session in history. For that achievement, Football for Friendship won the GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS® title.
On 1 June, the Final Championship took place in the very heart of Madrid, Plaza Mayor. Under an environmental initiative this year, 32 international Friendship Teams carried the names of rare and endangered animals. Thus, Antiguan Racer pulled out the victory of Tasmanian devil after a penalty shootout.
More than 160 reporters from national and international media provided coverage of Football for Friendship events. Bolivian Fox Sports reporter Jose Miguel Arevalo Deheza, the Executive Director of Radio Monumental, took part in the journalists’ panel discussion on the media’s influence on the development of children’s football. In his opinion, sports infrastructure need to be improved to promote children’s football in Bolivia, and it is the media that has to make people understand that: “It goes without saying that such programmes as Football for Friendship teach children important human values and contribute to improving the society.”
Coaches of the Alalay Charity Foundation Luis Fernando Bascope Pardo and Eduardo Rodrigo Zeballos Chavez were excited to hear that the Football for Friendship International Academy will be created and expressed gratitude to Gazprom EP International for their support and look forward to further cooperation.
All the participants in the final events of the 7th season of Football for Friendship attended the 2019 UEFA Champions League Final, which took place at the Wanda Metropolitano Stadium in Madrid.
The Football for Friendship (F4F) international children's social programme has been implemented by Gazprom since 2013. The key values promoted by the project's participants include friendship, equality, fairness, health, peace, devotion, victory, traditions, and honor. F4F is supported by UEFA, FIFA, the International Olympic Committee, football federations from different countries, international children's charity foundations, sports stars, and the world's leading football clubs. In the course of the past 7 seasons, the programme brought together more than 6,000 participants from 211 countries and regions, gaining over 5 million supporters, including famous athletes and artists.
The Nine Values Cup is given annually by young F4F ambassadors to a professional football club for the strongest commitment to the project's values. Since 2015, the trophy has been awarded to such football clubs as Barcelona (Spain), Bayern (Germany), Al-Wahda (Syria), and Real Madrid (Spain), as well as to the Brazilian national football team.