The Italian player Paolo di Canio is to receive the FIFA Fair Play Award for 2001.
The FIFA Committee for Security Matters and Fair Play agreed to award Paolo di Canio for a special act of good sportsmanship in an English Premiership match last season. Faced with the possibility of scoring an easy goal, di Canio chose instead to catch the ball with his hands and thus stop the play in order to allow the injured opposing goalkeeper to be treated.
A teenage Ghanaian player, Sumaila Abdallah, will receive a FIFA Fair Play diploma for having saved the life of an opponent with the kiss of life when the latter was knocked unconscious in a local match in Ghana. Both awards will be presented on the occasion of the FIFA World Player gala in Zurich on 17 December.
Meeting in Busan under the chairmanship of Dr Antonio Matarrese (Italy), the Committee also discussed matters in connection with security at the 2002 FIFA World Cup Korea/Japan, but deferred the major part of the debate to the next day’s meeting of the FIFA Executive Committee. Security will also be the subject of a special 2002 FIFA World Cup workshop involving security experts on 2 December, after the World Cup Draw in Busan. The FIFA President, Joseph S. Blatter, pointed out that the 2002 FIFA World Cup was not the first to be held to a background of difficult security circumstances, and he spoke confidently of the event going ahead successfully as planned.
The President of the African Football Confederation, Issa Hayatou (Cameroon), reported on a number of security incidents at matches in Africa, following which CAF had introduced a series of measures to improve security on such occasions, including the delegation of security specialists to high-risk matches and increased understanding between match organisers and police authorities. On behalf of UEFA, Per Omdal (Norway) spoke of the need to study more closely the obligation of players to take part in matches when they felt the background circumstances were personally threatening.
The Committee agreed that greater attention should be paid to ensuring adequate facilities for disabled people attending football matches, and heard a report on a FIFA project to promote the coaching of players with mental or physical disabilities.
Reaffirming the importance of the campaign against racism in football as highlighted during the FIFA conference on this subject last July in Buenos Aires, the Committee confirmed the date of 7 July as an annual anti-racism day in the world of football, while it was further agreed to fix the date of next year’s FIFA World Fair Play Day during the first Women’s Under-19 World Championship in Canada.