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Trip of a lifetime for West Ham Foundation

PUBLISHED: 10:00 25 April 2016

Action from a West Ham Foundation match (pic: West Ham Foundation/Stella Pictures)

Action from a West Ham Foundation match (pic: West Ham Foundation/Stella Pictures)

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Youngsters to attend Football for Friendship event in Milan

A group of youngsters from the West Ham United Foundation are getting ready for the trip of a lifetime, which will see them join children from different countries at the Football for Friendship International Children’s Forum in Milan before attending this year’s UEFA Champions League Final.

The Football for Friendship international children’s social programme – an initiative implemented by Gazprom, the official sponsor of the UEFA Champions League – aims to develop youth football and foster tolerance and respect towards different cultures and ethnicities among children from across the world.

Eight young Hammers, aged 12 to 14, together with one young journalist, have been selected from across the Foundation’s existing projects to represent the United Kingdom in this year’s programme.

The team will jet out to Italy at the end of May to participate in a series of events, including a Football for Friendship International Children’s Forum and Street Soccer Tournament alongside the other participating clubs, before watching the UEFA Champions League Final at AC Milan’s San Siro stadium on Saturday, May 28.

Prior to traveling to Milan, the group of youngsters will be supporting the programme’s International Day of Football and Friendship, a day of celebration across the globe for each of the participating nations today (Monday).

Over the course of the day, the youngsters will be given a tour of the Boleyn Ground, before taking part in a local football tournament against other teams from projects supported by the West Ham United Foundation.

The overall number of participating countries in the Football for Friendship initiative has grown from 24 last year to 32 in 2016, four times greater than when the programme started.

This year, the list of participants includes teams from Algeria, Argentina, Armenia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Belgium, Brazil, Bulgaria, China, Croatia, the Czech Republic, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Japan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, the Netherlands, Poland, Russia, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Switzerland, Syria, Turkey, Ukraine, the United Kingdom and Vietnam.

West Ham United Foundation chief executive Joseph Lyons said: “We were thrilled to be approached to take part in this year’s Football for Friendship programme, which is sure to give this group of young people, and our coaches, an experience that they will never forget.

“Our aim at the Foundation is to break down barriers and unite our local community through the power of football, so this is a perfect opportunity for the participants to promote those values on the international stage.”

This year’s programme will also see the presentation of the Nine Values Cup, a special award given to the football club that is deemed to have the most outstanding social initiatives and show the greatest commitment to the values of the programme: friendship, equality, fairness, health, peace, devotion, victory, traditions and honour.

Any football fan can submit a vote for a team by visiting facebook.com/FootballForFriendship before April 25.


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