With an increasing emphasis on ethics and fair play on and off the pitch since the 2016 reforms, FIFA has created a pilot project targeting the education of young footballers about integrity and ethical conduct in football.
The first example of this recently occurred at the ongoing FIFA U-17 World Cup, where seven teams participated in interactive workshops addressing topics that included match manipulation, doping, gender equality/harassment and racial discrimination. Players were also informed about the BKMS Online Reporting Tool, which allows reporting of harmful or unethical acts anonymously, securely and confidentially.
Short animated videos were shown explaining the meaning and importance of the topics, what FIFA’s policies are about them and how FIFA and the players can help make football more inclusive.
Fun and teaching with Legends
The young men then had some fun, taking interactive quizzes in small groups that tested their knowledge, with the winners qualifying for a surprise footballing challenge with two FIFA legends: Michel Salgado and Emmanuel Amuneke, who travelled to India specifically to be a part of the workshops.
The two retired greats shared stories from their careers about the practical implications of unethical behaviour in football and how they had seen lives impacted even at the highest level of football. Salgado and Amuneke then answered questions from the youngsters about the topics as well as about their glittering highlights in the game.
After that, the games got underway as the Legends captained the winning groups from the quizzes in a round of the “header bin challenge”, trying to head a ball between six players while seated and into a target. It was a good time for all, with an educational heart that informed the players and will hopefully stay with them through their careers.
Teams involved in workshops at India 2017
Chile, Colombia, England, Ghana, Iraq, Mexico, USA
What they said
England coach, Steve Cooper:
“The FIFA Ethics Workshop covered a range of important topics in a way that kept the players fully engaged. Adding a competitive element in the form of quizzes also gave the players an added incentive to give their full attention to the presentation. Our thanks go to FIFA for running such an interesting and highly valuable session for both players and staff.”
Mexico captain, Carlos Robles:
“I liked the Ethic workshop a lot because we talked and got information about important topics like saying no to racism and to doping. The group activities divided by teams really helped because they were fun, and in order to complete them you really needed to know what the topics were about. I want to thank FIFA for doing this kind of workshop as they are important issues for everybody in general and us players in particular.”