The expression Fair Play is known the world over, but FIFA is well aware that the positive message it conveys does not always come across. That is why the governing body of world football decided to use the FIFA Confederations Cup France 2003 as a platform to promote this noble principle and to show discrimination and racism the red card. FIFA.com took up the subject with the competition’s main protagonists, who proved just as forthright in their opinions as they are when it comes to winning the ball on the pitch.

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Francisco Maturana (Colombia coach) :
“If players behave themselves on the field then the fans behave themselves in the stands. I remember the third-place play-off at the last FIFA World Cup in Korea/Japan, when the home fans, who had behaved irreproachably throughout the tournament, suddenly stopped in their tracks, as though they were waiting for a sign from the pitch. If the Korean players had started to dish it out at that moment I’m sure things could have turned ugly. As it was, the players all hugged one another and it was the Beautiful Game all over again; the Koreans quickly forgot all about their disappointment.”

Chris Jackson (New Zealand midfielder) :
“Shaking hands with the Japanese players at the Stade de France was very positive, especially as it was in a good cause. They are great players so it was a real pleasure. It’s just a pity we couldn’t exchange jerseys.”

Oscar Córdoba (Colombia goalkeeper) :
“Shaking hands at the end of each match is very important. You have to remember that sportsmen push themselves to the physical limit. Rugby is a good example of this. The players lay into one another on the pitch but afterwards they all have a friendly dinner and a few drinks together. Players should become friends again as soon as the final whistle blows.”

Carlos Parreira (Brazil coach) :
“If anything brings people together it is football. The game can be used for cultural, political and social purposes. It is important to get involved in this sort of initiative whenever possible.”

All equal
Winfried Schaefer (Cameroon coach):
“We are 100% behind this initiative, even if it is a bit sad that it should come to this given that we all know that all human beings are equal, regardless of religion, culture or mentality. The big names in football should put their weight behind this initiative to help eradicate discrimination and above all racism.”

Coffi Bonaventure Codjia (Benin referee):
“Personally I’ve never been subject to discrimination on the pitch or witnessed it between players. Football is a universal sport which brings all sorts of people together. What other sport attracts 100,000 fans to a stadium? FIFA are right to use football in the fight against racism and discrimination. It will promote football and foster its development around the world.”

Jacques Santini (France coach):
“It is important that we all recognise the problem. Unfortunately we still see instances of it around the world, but FIFA has sent out a clear message by giving racism the red card. This campaign should absolutely be extended to all major footballing competitions.”

Francisco Maturana (Colombia coach) :
“Football is a country in which we are all brothers. It is magical. It is the only game capable of making a Bolivian, Nigerian and German embrace after a goal. We must use and spread that message everywhere.”

Marcel Desailly (France captain):
“It’s a very positive initiative. I hope that it isn’t a one-off and that it is repeated in other competitions.”

Landon Donovan (USA forward) :
"Discrimination can manifest itself in many ways. I love it when fans get right behind their team, but not when they whistle or boo another country’s national anthem. Every country should respect every other nation, before and after the match. »

Thierry Henry (France forward) :
"Everyone should be able to enjoy football without age, race or sex coming into it. This campaign is just great and we should all support it. Racism generally rears its ugly head in the stands, not on the pitch. Racists are few and far between and difficult to control. We don’t want racists in football and that’s why the type of initiative reflects our ideology.”