FIFA will be holding its second World Fair Play Day on Sunday 21 June 1998 – in the middle of the World Cup.
Following the success of the inaugural Fair Play Day last September, FIFA has decided to repeat the project and to use the World Cup finals as a media-attractive platform to promote it.
"We have chosen 21 June as Fair Play Day for a number of reasons," said FIFA Director of Communications, Keith Cooper. "It is well into the first round of the tournament; it is a Sunday, which is a suitable day for other countries also to stage their own Fair Play Day at the same time; the three World Cup matches that day involve teams from four different continents; and it also happens to be Michel Platini’s birthday."
The former French star and now co-President of the World Cup organising committee will be among the celebrities giving Fair Play Day their support on 21 June. There will be a number of special Fair Play features at the three matches on that day, including the integration of a short Fair Play video in the worldwide transmission of all three games. The scheduled matches are those between Argentina and Jamaica in Paris, Germany and Yugoslavia in Lens, and the USA and Iran in Lyon.
The 1998 FIFA Fair Play Day has received enthusiastic support from national associations around the world, including the teams playing on that day. The President of the Iranian Football Association, Mohsen Safaie Farahania, wrote to FIFA saying, "We hope the image of Fair Play at France 98 World Cup matches will be so long lasting that it cannot be wiped out with the lapse of time." The US Soccer Federation President, Alan I. Rothenberg, also pledged his team’s support for Fair Play Day : "We shall be proud to show on 21 June that Americans have always held Fair Play ideals in high esteem." German Football Association President Egidius Braun called the Fair Play Day project "a unique opportunity to show the world the value and importance of playing fair," while Argentina’s Julio Grondona said his players wanted to prove once again that playing fair is not only more enjoyable but also more effective.
While the focus of world football attention will be on the matches in France, other national associations are being encouraged to organise their own Fair Play projects. Last year, over 100 countries joined in the movement, with projects including pre-match shake-hands ceremonies, youth tournaments, Fair Play flags, messages, awards and community projects.
From its headquarters in Zurich, FIFA has despatched distinctive yellow and blue Fair Play promotional materials to all parts of the world to back up these local efforts. "The successful Fair Play Day last year proved that the majority of our member countries enjoy being associated with a worldwide movement for the day," said Keith Cooper. "And while the impact of the World Cup was too good to miss, the efforts on a national or local level elsewhere are just as important to the success of the operation."