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FIFPRO GALLERY UNVEILED: HONOURING FOOTBALL’S PIONEERING ACTIVISTS

08 December 2020
Today, FIFPRO pays tribute to professional footballers who have overcome adversity to achieve civil liberties and human rights, changing the lives of fellow players and inspiring future generations.

The global representative of players is unveiling a virtual wall at its headquarters to honour football’s pioneering activists, on the 25thanniversary of the Bosman ruling. The six videos featured on the wall will be made public online from today on fifpro.org/gallery.

“It is a pleasure to be able to look back on these victories they have achieved for themselves and their fellow professionals”

— by Philippe Piat, FIFPRO President

The FIFPRO Gallery will be extended over time as players continue to shape the football industry. FIFPRO pledges to continue endorsing the activism of footballers and support those who want to speak out about issues that matter to the game and our communities. Individual and collective leadership are more important than ever in football and society at a time of rapid change, driven by systemic trends like technology, globalisation and increased awareness about diversity and inclusion.

On 15 December 1995, the European Court of Justice ruled Belgian footballer Jean-Marc Bosman and other footballers can move between clubs as free agents once their contract had expired. Bosman’s achievement has benefited thousands of footballers around the world after FIFA subsequently amended its regulations.

The anniversary of the ruling provides the perfect occasion to honour some of the pioneers of the game, amid a new wave of player activism in football and society. In the inauguration of the FIFPRO Gallery, videos about the following players and teams are featured:

  • Jimmy Hill – Player Salary and Remuneration
  • George Eastham – Domestic Freedom of Movement
  • Jean-Marc Bosman – Freedom of movement
  • The 99ers – A New Era of Women's Football
  • Afghanistan Women's National Team – Fighting Abuse
  • Zahir Belounis – Human rights

“All players should be free to express their desire for change and encouraged to use their voice to seek change in football and society without fear of retribution”

— by Jonas Baer-Hoffman, FIFPRO General Secretary

FIFPRO General Secretary Jonas Baer-Hoffmann said, “FIFPRO and our national player unions are proud of the legacy of these players and the opportunity to have played a part in many of these stories. We salute these men and women who through personal sacrifices and collective action have changed the history of football for the better and often even reached far beyond the boundaries of our sport. It is important to remember this history and inspire the actions of the next generation.

“We will honour the responsibility they gave to us and continue to robustly represent today’s footballers following the same path by standing up for what they believe is right and fair. All players should be free to express their desire for change and encouraged to use their voice to seek change in football and society without fear of retribution. This remains as important today as ever.”

FIFPRO President Philippe Piat said, “These players shaped what FIFPRO is today and it is a pleasure to be able to look back on these victories they have achieved for themselves and their fellow professionals. There are many more stories and we will keep shedding light on these remarkable individuals and teams, whose perseverance changed the face of football.

“The work of FIFPRO and our player unions is never over, there are still many injustices to tackle. In the same way we stood together with many of these players, we will continue to offer help to today’s generation of footballers and those generations that follow them.”

Go to the FIFPRO gallery

Gallery