The FIFA Fair Play Award recognises exemplary behaviour that promotes the spirit of fair play and compassion on and off the field.
In November this year, tragedy struck South American football, with a profound impact on the global footballing community, after a plane crash in Colombia claimed the lives of the vast majority of its passengers – including the team delegation of Brazilian side Associação Chapecoense de Futebol and members of the media. The side had been travelling to Medellin for the final round of the Copa Sudamericana, the club’s first major final.
Colombian side Atletico Nacional, Chapecoense’s planned opponents in the continental final, in a remarkable display of humility, sent a request to CONMEBOL to award Chapecoense the title, with the South American governing body duly obliging.
Fans of the clubs shared their grief, and mourned the lives of those lost, together, with thousands of Aletico Nacional supporters attending the stadium at the planned kick-off time of the final’s first leg, in tribute to those that could not be there to play the fixture.
A special panel of experts, comprising Gabriel Batistuta, Marta, Howard Webb, Vladimir Petkovic and Adolf Ogi, assessed several examples of Fair Play which took place this year before deciding upon the victor. The FIFA Fair Play Award for 2016 goes to Atletico Nacional, for their moving gesture. The award was accepted on stage in Zurich on 9 January 2017 by Dr Carlos de La Cuesta.