OREANDA-NEWS. London hosted today the first International Children's Forum organized within the Football for Friendship social project of Gazprom.

Taking part in the Forum were 31 children's and youth football teams from eight countries: Russia, Bulgaria, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Serbia, Slovenia and the UK. Franz Beckenbauer, International Ambassador for the Football for Friendship project also took part in the event.

The young football players talked about what place football had in their lives, what sports victories they had already won and how playing football helped them make new friends in their own countries and all over the world.

As part of the Forum, Franz Beckenbauer, Vyacheslav Krupenkov, Senior Managing Director of Gazprom Germania, Matt Barlow, International Sports Expert and eight young football players representing the Forum member countries signed an Open Letter. It will be sent to Joseph Blatter, President of the International Federation of Association Football (FIFA), Michel Platini, President of the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) and Jacques Rogge, President of the International Olympic Committee.

The Letter outlines eight principles of the football that the Football for Friendship participants are going to promote, namely, traditions, peace, friendship, victory, equality, health, justice and devotion.

“We are calling on children and adults all over the world to play football and love sport. We are going to take football through our lives, communicate with each other and promote the football movement and its values to people from different countries. Everyone should get a chance to go in for either amateur or professional football. And we want more opportunities for that to be there,” the Letter says.

“For many years already football has been uniting people all over the world despite any differences. This game teaches everyone to respect each other, work together and break any cultural barriers. Even now it is the most popular game in the world and the Football for Friendship project will help introduce yet more children and teenagers to football values,” noted Franz Beckenbauer.

After the event Gazprom arranged a visit to the UEFA Champions League final for the Forum participants.

On April 18, 2013 Gazprom launched the Football for Friendship international social project within the Gazprom for Children global program. The project is aimed at instilling modern values, namely, respect for other cultures and nationalities, equality, as well as interest in a healthy lifestyle into the younger generation through passion for football.

Football for Friendship is held under the auspices of Franz Beckenbauer, one of the most famous football players in the world.

Taking part in the project are children's and youth football teams. A total of four groups were made up of boys and girls between 10 and 16 years old. The first group comprises 14 teams from 11 Russian cities hosting the 2018 FIFA World Cup matches, including two teams from orphanages and the team from the Zenit FC sports school. The second group consists of football teams from sports schools and academies on the basis of the clubs sponsored by Gazprom: Chelsea (UK), Schalke 04 (Germany), Crvena Zvezda (Serbia). The third group comprises the teams who won the Children's Spartakiada Games of Gazprom and the Fakel children's creativity competition. The fourth group includes the teams from the South Stream member countries (Bulgaria, Hungary, Slovenia and Greece).

Gazprom is an official partner of the UEFA Champions League for the seasons 2012 to 2015 and the UEFA Super Cup 2012, 2013 and 2014.