Off the field, numerous professional footballers are engaging with their communities, using their status to benefit less-fortunate people.
Elite professional footballers are among some of the world’s most high-profile workers. The lives of the game’s top players are in the full glare of hundreds of millions of people, both on and off the pitch.
Even less well-known players further down the football pyramid are a focus of their local community. This brings pressure but it also gives the opportunity for players to use their profile to achieve positive change.
For more than a decade, FIFPRO has recognized the selfless contribution of players to their community through our annual Merit Award. Previous winners of the awards help refugees in Africa, work with disabled children in Romania and support women’s football in Afghanistan.
Every year we pay tribute to players like Awer Mabil and donate $25,000 (USD) to help the charity they work for.
“I want to help refugees through football because football has given me so much”
FIFPRO is also one of the partners of the Homeless World Cup.
Since 2015, we have been supporting this inspiring tournament for amateur footballers who have fallen on hard times in their personal lives, and are bravely trying to turn their lives around.
The players are grouped into national teams, but winning isn’t really the end goal.
To win FIFPRO’s Fair Play Award – handed out every day at the tournament - respecting yourself, your teammates and opponents is more important than scoring a match-winning goal.
Previous winners include Nikolas Figueroa and his Australian teammates, who showed outstanding sportsmanship at the 2019 tournament.
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