Final stage of Russian children's football championships begin in Sochi
The event brought together 22 of the best children's football teams from across Russia to compete for a grand prize, which includes a trip to London to visit the Arsenal football club.
The tournament is sponsored by MegaFon, the Russian Football Union, the Russian Ministries of Sports and Education and the Football Children charity fund.
"I sincerely congratulate you on the fact that you successfully overcome the difficulties of the qualifying stages and won the right to represent your region here in Sochi," CSKA Moscow head coach Leonid Slutsky said to the child athletes on Tuesday. "I know firsthand how hard it is to play and to lead teams in the most important matches of the season. I hope that at the forthcoming World Championships in Russia, some of you will already defend the colors of the national team. Good luck."
More than 1,300 teams comprised of 15,000 children in Russia participate in the annual championship, which will last until Thursday. Many of the child competitors come from orphanages and benefit from the sense of family and community that athletics provide.
"One of the main problems for orphans is the adaptation to adult life in society," a MegaFon spokesperson said. "Help socialization-- the main task of our project. Football not only teaches beautifully win and lose, but also gives what is missing children in orphanages-- currently live communication with peers."
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