The teams have been drawn for this year’s edition of the Football for Friendship eWorld Championship (eF4F).
The virtual event is part of Gazprom International’s social programme, Football for Friendship, which brings together children from across the globe, united by the beautiful game.
The 32 teams will connect young players, all aged between 12 and 14, from 211 different countries. This year the event will take place virtually, with players competing online to take home the eF4F Championship title from 27th to 29th May.
The teams were drawn on 25th April, the International Day of Football and Friendship, by four young ambassadors for the project, Ananya Kamboj from India, Yusuf Moazzam from Pakistan, Sheqayli Ascencion from Aruba and Alinur Gabidenuiy from Kazakhstan.
The teams, known as "International Teams of Friendship" were organised into eight groups of four. Each team was named after an endangered species to draw attention to the problem of animal extinction.
You can watch the draw on the programme’s YouTube channel:
The eF4F tournament will be held on the multiplayer simulator Football for Friendship World (F4F World), which was specially developed for the programme and is available for free on MS Windows, Apple macOS, Android, and iOS. Each team has six players, and a match consists of two halves each lasting 3.5 minutes. Football academies all over the world could nominate boys and girls up to 1st May.
The preliminary rounds of the eF4F 2021 tournament will take place on 27th and 28th May, with the final played on 29th May.
F4F ambassadors will meet for the National Ambassadors Forum in Istanbul on 29th May at the same time as the UEFA Champions League final where they will discuss the development of children’s football.
Football for Friendship is aiming to achieve its third Guinness World Records title this year. The programme already has two world records: one for the most nationalities in a football training session and a second for the most users in a video football hangout.
Ivan Galayev, Young Player from Latvia, 12: Dear participants at the events of F4F 2021, welcome to the world of nine values. It was a great pleasure and a great honour for me to take part in the Football for Friendship eWorld Championship in 2020. It’s the perfect place to experience friendship, peace and enthusiasm for the game of football. I wish you good luck and lots of fun in the 2021 games. Enjoy yourselves!
Muhammad Y Jallow, Young Player from Gambia, 14: When my father first recommended that I take part in F4F, I didn’t really understand what it all meant. But when I started to look for more information, I understood that it’s about much more than a game. In fact, its key ideas are: 1. Fair play. 2. Football should not create disharmony but forge friendships. 3. The best way to play football is to train regularly. I train really hard.
When I started playing football, all my teammates were at least three times better. I started working hard on myself until I got into the first team and even became the best player in the team. I have learnt never to give up. It was like a dream come true when I found out that I can take part in this fantastic project. Thank you for everything.
About the programme:
The International Children’s Social Programme Football for Friendship has been run by Gazprom since 2013. Over the previous eight seasons, the programme has brought together over 15,000 participants from 211 countries and regions and over 6,000,000 supporters.
Young players and young journalists are the participants in the programme – boys and girls, including children with disabilities. Young players represent different countries and cultures united in the mixed teams of the Football for Friendship World Championship. They show that nationality, gender, and physical abilities aren’t a barrier to becoming a team. Young journalists cover the events of the programme in the International Children’s Press Center. All participants become young ambassadors of the programme and continue to share their Football for Friendship experience and promote universal human values: friendship, equality, fairness, health, peace, devotion, victory, traditions, and honour.
In 2020, Football for Friendship was held online. A special digital platform connected over 10,000 players of all ages. It has become the home for international children’s competitions and a playground where anyone can train, join in the international mixed teams and play their favourite game in the Football for Friendship format without leaving the comfort of their home.