F.I.F.A. Fair Play Awards (timeline)


 Paulo di Canio ITA


 Lucas Radebe RSA


 New Zealand’s Football community NZ


 The National Associations of Iran, the USA and Northern Ireland.


 Irish spectators of the World Cup preliminary match versus Belgium. IRL
and Jozef Zovinec (Slovak amateur player) and Julie Foudy USA


 George Weah FRA


 Jacques Glassmann FRA




 Nandor Hidgekuti HUN


 Union Royale Belge des Societes de Football Association BEL


 Real Federacion Espanola de Futbol (Spanish FA) SPA
and  Jorginho (individual award) BRA


 Gary Lineker ENG


 Spectators of Trinidad and Tobago T&T


 Frank Ordenewitz GER
and The Spectators of the Olympic Football Tournament Seoul ’88


 Fans of FC Dundee United SCO

Information on Some players who won the Award

Paulo di Canio:

Di Canio won this award because the Italian opted to catch the ball rather than shoot for goal when the Everton Goalkeeper was on the ground injured. The ball was played to Di Canio, who had an open goal before him, but instead of shooting, he made a very honourable action, and caught the ball instead so that the Everton physio could aid Paul Gerrard, (the Everton goalkeeper). F.I.F.A. described it as “a special act of good sportsmanship”.

This came as a surprise to many as it is one of the first times that Di Canio has been in the media’s attention due to good actions. Back in 1998 he was playing for Sheffield Wednesday against Arsenal and was in a scuffle with Martin Keown. They were both shown the Red card and were asked to leave the pitch, however this enraged di Canio who stood up to referee Paul Alcock and knocked him over on to the ground. Di Canio shocked his fellow team mates and supporters alike, and was issued with a fine of £10,000 and an 11 match ban, as well as a fine issued by his own club. He returned to Italy to “work with his personal trainer”… and was due to return for a match on Boxing Day 1998. However, he went missing. He received further fines from his club for his extended absence and made several claims as to the reasons behind his absence. He had established himself as a problem at Sheffield Wednesday to such an extent that when West Ham offered £2million to take Di Canio, Wednesday could simply not refuse.

Di Canio’s move to West Ham was not incident free either. He made several nasty comments about fellow team members and their inexperience at international level. This caused much tension and led to further problems for Di Canio. The fact remains that Di Canio exhibited some terrible behaviour in the early stages of his career in England. However, it is highly commendable that he has made the transformation from “villain” to “hero”. It is equally commendable that F.I.F.A. have not held any prejudice or “sour grapes” by awarding him the Fair Play Award.
Let’s hope it encourages more players to change their ways for the better and set a shining example to all.

George Weah:

Unlike di Canio, George Weah has always been in the press for the right reasons. He is a marvellous player and won the most prestigious award for a footballer in a year; The best Player in the World in 1995, and in 1996 was recognised for his more generous work and was presented with the Fair Play Award. This was for helping his Liberian compatriots when the country was ravaged by civil war, and helping financially with the construction of a children’s hospital and a sports school, and the foundation of a youth football club, Junior Professionals.

Lucas Radebe:

Radebe has been an ambassador of F.I.F.A. for SOS children’s villages, and played a big role in fighting racism in soccer. Such was his input that he deservedly won this award in December 2000. F.I.F.A. themselves said “Lucas is not only a fantastic and fair player on the field, but also has a great personality off the pitch, with a big heart for the children of the world”.

Julie Foudy:

Julie won the award congratulating her for her work against child labour. She is the first woman and American to win the honour and she deserves it as she has tried very hard to rid the world of child labour and enforce more respectable laws.

Gary Lineker:

Gary won this award simply for being a rarity in football as he has never been sent off in his entire career of football! The true sign of a fair player!