The football family unites to celebrate its annual Fair Play Days
© AFP

For the eleventh year running FIFA will hold World Fair Play Days from 21 to 23 September to coincide with the United Nations International Day of Peace (21 September), an invitation to all nations and people to honour a cessation of hostilities around the world. The world governing body will also devote the quarter-final matches of the FIFA World Women's World Cup in the Chinese cities of Tianjin and Wuhan on 22 and 23 September to a special activity on the pitch which will be broadcast to 200 territories across all six confederations. Shortly before kick-off at those particular games, both team captains will read a declaration to support fair play on the pitch and in society. As part of this statement, the players will also pledge support for the FIFA and UNICEF "Goals for Girls!" campaign and its two important goals of empowering women and guaranteeing access to school for all children.

FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter unequivocally stressed FIFA's commitment to fair play as a far-reaching means of demonstrating responsibility both on and off the pitch: "We acknowledge the prominent role of sport and especially of football as a vehicle for delivering clear and firm messages to eradicate the major ills affecting society around the world. As the most popular sport, football is a universal language that can help bridge all social divides. Although fair play is a principle that applies all year round, the FIFA Fair Play Days give the football family the opportunity to celebrate fair play in a special way and to recognise and highlight the best examples of sportsmanship from the year. Holding these events in conjunction with the International Day of Peace thus creates the perfect complement for essential peace-building programmes worldwide."

FIFA has invited all of its 208 member associations to join in the celebrations by gathering around a football pitch, highlighting the values of fair play and reminding the football family of the meaning of peace and the need for commitment to its realisation. FIFA has celebrated Fair Play Days since 1997 and this year is the fourth time that the events will be linked to the International Day of Peace. In previous years, activities have been held in dozens of countries around the world, from grassroots to top-flight football, including many community-based projects.

Throughout the year FIFA acknowledges teams' behaviour on and off the pitch in each of its competitions by awarding the FIFA Fair Play Trophy, medals and diplomas as well as a cheque for the purchase of adidas equipment for youth teams. In addition, the annual FIFA Fair Play Award at the FIFA World Player Gala held yearly in December honours outstanding gestures of fair play. For further information, please visit the official website, www.FIFA.com.