FC ZENIT, Saint Petersburg / FOOTBALL CLUB ZENIT / 2021

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Zenit were the first Russian football club to start a comprehensive programme for creating an inclusive community that works with charitable foundations and various disabilities and special needs centres. The Club started the social inclusive programme Zenit Nearby in April 2019.

Zenit were the first football club to make a football camp for children with Down syndrome at the Gazprom Academy. The camp is another step towards creating an inclusive community for all Zenit supporters without exception. The project has helped grow the love of sport for children and young people with disabilities and has become an entry point into the club for youngsters with different levels of ability. The camp is an excellent platform for informing our vast network of supporters about the work of our charity organizations which is acting as an intermediary for direct interaction between the club, our fans and social groups through volunteering activities.


This June ten players with Down syndrome trained daily at the Gazprom Academy as part of partnership was the football club 47 in the Game. The day’s training included both football, consisting of two daily workouts, and a large extra-curricular programme.

During the training camp, the participants met with the players and coaches of the Zenit first team, attended training session and talked to the legends of the club.

Zenit coaches Sergey Semak became a special guest at the training camp. He attended training, took part in a friendly with mixed teams, and also trained with one of the players on a special simulator developed by UEFA Pro coaches. Later, coach Anatoly Tymoshchuk joined the team to hold a training session and play in a friendly match.

The participants also visited museums, an aquarium, had basketball training and had a picnic as part of the social aspect of the project.


Zenit is an enormous brand with a large audience, so we understand that we have powerful resources that we are ready to share for the benefit of society. We hope to continue to develop our skills, techniques, best practices, information resources, infrastructure facilities, brand weight, influence and trendsetting ability to help the city and country socially.

The club uses advanced approaches and the high level of our academy with its supporting funds to help grow the basics of the club's inclusive projects. Zenit has developed effective practices and tools in managing, tracking and recording the progress of the club in achieving results in the area of corporate social responsibility.

As part of the summer training camp for children with Down syndrome, we tried to give the players the same top-notch conditions our professional footballers enjoy. A grass pitch, simulators and a professional staff of coaches, physiotherapists and masseurs.


A specially developed sports training programme combined with leisure activities and constant team communication helped to achieve not only excellent sporting progress, but also noticeable improvements in social skills.

Our coaches also noted an increase in concentration abilities, a more serious attitude to training and positive life changes in diet. All the participants also improved their independent living skills with the older players showing more responsibility and supporting their younger teammates. Two of the participants also had noticeable improvements to their speech with one of the 10 children taking part speaking for the first time! They began to pronounce words and sentences in addition to only sounds and this is the result were most proud of.


This project is another part of our far-reaching social programme Zenit Nearby. This is a small step in the development of more inclusivity in sport, as we firmly believe that sport is for everyone, without exceptions or limitations!

The club launched a special website for the project, which gives all the details of the players’ training progress, how people with Down syndrome can enjoy football, their personal stories, how our coaching staff, their methods, the Gazprom Academy’s environment has helped the players find their own sporting success.

The total coverage in the media was 5,600,000. 18 publications in the media: 7 with a positive outlook, 11 with a neutral outlook tone, zero with a negative outlook. Within the regional media there were 8 publications, 9 nationally, 1 from abroad.

The total coverage in Zenit’s media-resources: 10 publications, more than 576 00 views, more than 30 000 likes, 787 comments.

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FC ZENIT, Saint petersburg

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