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With pride, Tony Higgins, chairman of FIFPro’s Corporate Social Responsibility committee, watched as six of the seven Fair Play Award winners made a lap of honour before packed stands at the Homeless World Cup.

These six players, Jodie Coombes (England), Styliani Mavridou (Greece), Melissa Gaarde (The Netherlands), Tomas Vesely (Czech Republic), Joachim De Wachter (Belgium) and Alfred Omer (Australia) were cheered by more than a thousand spectators who were awaiting the women’s final, in which the seventh member of FIFPro’s Fair Play World 7 would make her appearance, Mexican goalkeeper Lizeth Rodriguez.

The lap of honour was the ultimate thrill for these players, who stood out with their sportsmanlike behaviour during the event in Glasgow.

“I was moved by how much this award means to all of them,“ Higgins said. “I remember the first three winners all crying in the moments after they received the trophy.”

“We should not forget the difficult times these players, young and old, have gone through. They rarely have experienced positivity in their recent past, but now they are here, on the pitch, celebrated by their peers and more than a thousand spectators.”

“They fully deserve the praise. With their selfless attitude they showed their true character.”

500 players, 500 histories

The winners of the Fair Play Award are seven of more than 500 players who made their appearance in Glasgow. All 500 have their own history, dealt or are dealing with their problems. Like Danielle from the USA, who was homeless and addicted to drugs. Like Reza from Austria, who escaped the war in Afghanistan and is now living in an Austrian shelter home. Like William from Scotland, who ended up on the streets after a divorce.

They have one thing in common: they all became involved with football programs set up to help them get their lives back on track. Now the Homeless World Cup has ended, their fight will continue with help of the many national partners of the event.

“FIFPro wishes them all the best rearranging their lives, trying to find the place in society they aspire too and finding contentment.”

“Throughout the week, I noticed the comradery among the players, who enjoyed the game but most of all the experience of the event. For many the highlight of their life.”

“We as FIFPro, representing all professional footballers in the world, were happy to contribute to this beautiful event, to this charity and to the future of all these admirable men and women.”

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Danielle, Reza and William

 


Top photo: FIFPro's Tony Higgins together with the Indonesian national team

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