Sat, Jun 09, 2018 - Page 16 News List

Taiwanese kids arrive in Moscow for F4F program

By Dave Carroll  /  Staff reporter

Taiwan’s delegation to the Football for Friendship (F4F) International Children’s Social program yesterday arrived in Moscow for the event being held ahead of the FIFA World Cup in Russia.

Organized by Gazprom — an official partner of FIFA and the Russia World Cup — the goal of the program is to involve children from all over the world in promoting the most important human values among their peers: friendship, equality, peace and respect for different cultures and nationalities.

This year, the program has been expanded with the goal of inviting children from all 211 members of FIFA.

On Feb. 15 in Moscow, 32 International Friendship Teams were drawn featuring one player from each FIFA member nation, with Royal Blues forward Danny Carroll, a fourth-grade student at Taipei Municipal Binjiang Elementary School, to represent Taiwan at the event.

As an ecological initiative, all 32 teams are named after an endangered species and each team is to be managed by a coach aged 14 to 16.

Carroll is to play for the African Wild Dog team alongside players from Russia, Paraguay, Australia, Grenada and Haiti.

The 32 teams are to train for the next few days before competing at the F4F World Championship five-a-side tournament in Moscow on Tuesday.

On Wednesday, the young ambassadors are to attend the F4F International Children’s Forum, where they are to discuss ways of promoting the program’s key values across the globe, before attending the opening ceremony and opening match of the FIFA World Cup — Russia v Saudi Arabia — in Moscow on Thursday.

As well as international media coverage, there is a F4F International Children’s Press Center, consisting of 12-year-old journalists from all 211 FIFA members, with Taiwan represented by Royal Blues player Sherri Chang, a sixth-grade student at Taipei Municipal Mingchuan Elementary School.

“Participating in the International Children’s social program Gazprom Football for Friendship, you will meet friends from all over the world, learn more about equality and fairness — values that are very important for FIFA. The final events of the sixth season will be held in Moscow during the World Cup Russia 2018. I hope to meet you there and wish you the best of luck,” former Netherlands forward Marco van Basten told the ambassadors invited to the draw.

The Taiwanese delegation is being led by Robert Iwanicki, the manager of Taiwan Football Premier League side Royal Blues.

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