A defender with Italian Serie B side Gubbio 1910 and a Football for Hope ambassador since March this year, Simone Farina was a guest of honour at the 62nd FIFA Congress in Budapest on Thursday.
“Football for Hope ambassadors play a fundamental role,” said FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter. “As spokespersons explaining our work, they enhance the visibility of the things we do.”
The 30-year-old Farina took the brave step last year of approaching the police after being asked to influence the outcome of games. Thanks to his honesty and integrity, the authorities were able to break a major illegal betting ring.
The player has also been asked by Italy coach Cesare Prandelli to visit the national team’s training camp at Coverciano. “The doors will always be open to you Simone,” said the Nazionale boss.
Taking time out on his visit to the Hungarian capital, Farina gave a short interview to FIFA.com.
FIFA.com: Having been named a FIFA Football For Hope ambassador, what message would you like to get across?
Simone Farina: First of all, I’m very honoured to have been entrusted with these responsibilities by the FIFA President. I hope that the world of football will become an even better place than it is at the moment. All I did was just abide by the rules, and my message for youngsters is a simple one: ‘Learn to respect the rules and have fun.’
What can be done to educate young players and prevent them from getting involved in corruption?
For me education starts with the family first and foremost.
When you see FIFA carrying out reforms designed to make it more transparent, do you feel the same will be true of football one day?
Of course. We need football to be clean, transparent and honest. I believe in that.
As a player, what’s your view of FIFA?
FIFA is a huge global institution. Speaking as a mere player, to have the opportunity to work for it is the biggest thing I could possibly aspire to.
Do you believe in the social power of football, in its ability to change attitudes?
Yes. We always have to set an example as players because there are a lot of young people who mimic what we do. That’s why I’m confident, because our behaviour on the pitch and in everyday life can help instil important values in the society in which we live.