“We should all learn to speak the language of football, because then we are able to communicate with each other no matter which nationality [we are].”
The quote is from Doriano Sabatino, a young football player from Belgium, member of Football for Friendship (F4F), an international children’s social programme organised by Gazprom since 2013.
More than 6,000 children have taken part in the programme, and this year in Madrid, at the final event of the season, an official GUINNESS WORLD RECORD® was set.
The record for Most Nationalities in a Football Training Session was recognised by an official GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS® Adjudicator, Anna Louise Orford.
“To be a Guinness World Record title, we have some very strict rules, and the organisers know it, it’s really very difficult,” said Orford, before announcing the result.
“We needed 50 different nationalities to take part today, and I can confirm that in this football training session, we had 57 different nationalities: it’s a new Guiness World Record title. And I am so happy and proud to award this to you.”
The record is perhaps the logical conclusion of the programme, which has seen 211 countries join over the last seven seasons.
“Today you have shown me that everything is possible, and that sport is the language for all nations, thank you so much for allowing me to be with you today,” concluded Orford.
“It was so beautiful, the fact that so many people from such different places can come to the same place and play football together, it’s really awesome,” said Matevz Parte, a Young Ambassador of the initiative.
The principle of multiculturalism is one of the fundamental values of the project, along with the nine values that shape the whole initiative: equality, fair play, health, friendship, peace, dedication, victory, tradition, and honour.
“We should organise such global events as often as possible to converge people from all over the world,” said Roman Horak, a young player from Czech Republic. “I met many wonderful people here, each of them taught me to appreciate every minute of life.”
According to Orford, the quality, standard, and enthusiasm of the initiative was, from the beginning, “exceptional”. She encouraged the participants to give themselves a massive round of applause and concluded by saying: “Congratulations for just being here.”