At the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™, the FIFA Youth Programme will see the dreams of thousands of children come true by making them a key part of the action on matchdays.

Youngsters from across the globe will take part in a number of exciting matchday activities – thanks to FIFA Partners and FIFA Sponsors – including acting as player escorts, flag bearers, ball carriers, ball crew members and helping with the coin toss ahead of the games kicking off.

FIFA Secretary General, Fatma Samoura, explained it further: “Thanks to the Youth Programme, children from all over the world can be a part of the FIFA World Cup. We must remember that football is not only a sport, but it also promotes acceptance and unity. FIFA intends to share these values with the young participants of the Youth Programme as they are the future of the sport and I am proud of the collaboration with our Commercial Affiliates to reach this objective.”

 Since the 1998 FIFA World CupTM, the FIFA Youth Programme has connected children with football from an early age, regardless of gender. At Russia 2018, nearly 4000 children and young adults aged between six and 17 will play an essential role in football’s showpiece event and, at the same time, perhaps meet one of their footballing heroes!

FIFA Partners’ involvement in the Youth Programme

  • adidas FIFA Fair Play flag bearers: 384 local and international children (aged 14-17)
  • Coca-Cola National Flag Bearers, ball crew members and coin toss kids: 1600 local and international children (12-17)
  • Dalian Wanda FIFA flag bearers: 384 local and international children (12-17)
  • Kia Motors Official Match Ball Carriers: 36 Russian and 28 international children (10-14)
  • McDonald’s Player Escorts: 1273 local children, 135 international children (6-10)

The vast array of children involved include kids from around the world and local to Russia – including children from 20 different cities in the Host Country. Wheelchair-bound children will be among the McDonald’s Player Escorts and Coca-Cola National Flag Carriers for the Opening Match and the Final, with Coca-Cola having an entirely female ball crew for the Opening Match. Other Youth Programme participants have taken part in the Special Olympics.

While adidas, Coca-Cola, Kia Motors and McDonald’s return to add their assistance to the Youth Programme at Russia 2018, this is the first time that Dalian Wanda will take part in this special initiative.  

A key part of FIFA 2.0 is the development of youth, with the key message that as players or as fans: youngsters are the future of football.

FIFA Chief Commercial Officer Philippe Le Floc’h said of the initiative: “FIFA, together with adidas, Coca-Cola, Dalian Wanda, Kia and McDonalds, gives the Youth Programme participants the opportunity to have a once in a lifetime experience. Our goal is to deepen the relationship between fans and the game, not only on the pitch and in the stadiums, but also with people from every corner of the globe. This programme is the ultimate example of how FIFA works together with its Partners and Sponsors to engage with communities and provide them with authentic and unique experiences that lets them to be part of the FIFA World Cup.”

One thing is certain, these thousands of youngsters will have an amazing story to tell their friends and family, and their fantastic experience at Russia 2018 will surely live with them forever.