The World Football Forum, the high profile annual football industry event, which this year started on 18 May in Changsha, China, continued today. The second day of the forum opened with a plenary session “Football Russia: The State of the Game in FIFA’s Host Nation', followed by the morning keynote address delivered by Alexander Djordjadze, Deputy CEO, 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia Local Organising Committee. The Greatest Show on Earth – in footballing terms – is coming to Russia next year and at the Russian panel Alexey Smertin, Russian football legend, Russian Football Union, Youth Development Director, Dynamo Moscow; Igor Stolyarov, Deputy CEO, Sovetsky Sport; Yuri Belous, Chairman, Football Market and Sergei Kolushev, Vice President, International Students Football Union - in other words the people who are shaping the sport across the country - provided insight into the football ecosystem there.
Another session shined the spotlight on India. The FIFA U17 World Cup host nation continues its rapid rise in the world football community, and panel speakers included opinion leaders from South Asia: Subrata Dutta, Vice President, All-India Football Federation; Sunando Dhar, CEO, I-League, All-India Football Federation; Baljit Rihal, CEO, Inventive Sports; Arunava Chaudhuri, Indian football expert. Other topics covered in a busy second day of the event ranged from sports tourism to sponsorship to elite youth development - a diverse programme reflecting the broad remit of WFF.
The main highlight of the second day of the World Football Forum undoubtedly was the panel session focusing on legends leagues - and our line of speakers included some of the world's greatest football stars including Roberto Carlos, Robert Pires, Gilberto Silva, Gianluca Zambrotta, Gaizka Mendieta and David James. Jamie Jarvis, CEO, Star Sixes provided context.
While they are in Changsha, the football legends are also engaging with the local community. They partook in a friendly game of football with excited local children, chatted with fans, posed for photos and sign hundreds of autographs.
Ronaldinho's Globe Street Team project provided a fitting finale to WFF 2017 - with an amazing on-stage performance by some very skilled street footballers - and it was good to see Ronaldinho himself delivering a warm message of greetings to WFF participants.
There will be even more interesting activities tomorrow - follow our news!