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Surya Varikuti, a 12 year old football enthusiast and defender from Bangalore, has been selected to represent India at the global Football for Friendship (F4F) social programme. The F4F programme, supported by Gazprom and FIFA aims at developing youth football and a healthy lifestyle, as well as promoting tolerance, open-mindedness and respect for different cultures and nationalities between children from across the globe. This year, the F4F programme has expanded to 211 countries and regions. This is the second time that India will participate in the programme. As per an open draw conducted in February, India was given the opportunity to select a defender for the programme.
Surya will join young footballers from around the world in Moscow in June 2018. The children will be a part of the 32 International Teams of Friendship and play against each other in the Gazprom FOOTBALL FOR FRIENDSHIP International Championship. The friendly tournament aims to bring together children from around the world and celebrate the unifying spirit of football.
Surya will be participating in the Football for Friendship International Children's Forum in Russia, where the youngster will get a chance to meet his peers from other countries, share his experiences, and discuss with famous footballers and journalists on how to promote key values of the F4F programme around the world. He will be joined by Rudresh Goudnour, the 12 year old Pune kid who was selected as the Young Journalist from India. Rudresh will report on all the local and global activities of the F4F programme as part of the International Children's Press Center. Both of the participants will also get to watch the opening ceremony and the first match of the FIFA World Cup 2018.
Speaking on the selection of the young footballer Mr. Kishore Taid, COO, All India Football Federation, said, “The selection of the young footballer is an extension of our support to this unique global initiative. The programme is a wonderful opportunity for kids to build ties of friendship among children from around the world and foster peace and harmony through the beautiful game of football. We wish our young footballer all the best for the programme and look forward to his contribution in promoting the key values of the programme, in Russia, as well as in India.”