During the FIFPRO general assembly on 21-24 November in South Africa, FIFPRO will present the 2023 Union Impact Award to the member union that has launched the best initiative to improve the wellbeing of professional footballers in their country.
Six unions were shortlisted and recently a special committee selected three finalists. During the general assembly, FIFPRO members will vote on which of the three finalists will win the award.
One of the six shortlisted unions is the Kenya Footballers Welfare Association (KEFWA), who have been recognised for their anti-match-fixing endeavours.
Kenyan football is fighting match-fixing, with rising concerns about games being manipulated in the country. Earlier this year, the Kenya Footballers Welfare Association (KEFWA) teamed up with their integrity ambassador Festo Omukoto, Kenyan police, and Nairobi City Stars FC to bring three match-fixers to justice.
KEFWA organised a campaign to raise awareness about the dangers of match-fixing and unite all parties in Kenyan football against corruption. The campaign, known as Championing Integrity, recognises the individuals and organisations who make important contributions in the fight against match-fixing.
An important part of the campaign centres on Omukoto talking with players about his experiences, to help illustrate the dangers of match-fixing. Omukoto was once banned from football for four years because of his alleged involvement in match-fixing. Now, Omukoto teaches players how to react when approached.
KEFWA organises workshops, allowing other players to share experiences and advice. The union is also distributing the Red Button app, which was developed by FIFPRO to enable footballers to safely report match-fixing approaches.
KEFWA President James Situma said: “KEFWA and Football Kenya Federation have introduced an integrity form that players, match officials and team managers must sign before the season begins. This preventive measure reinforces the commitment of all stakeholders to uphold the highest standards of honesty and fairness, ensuring that match-fixing is eradicated from Kenyan football.”
The project has empowered players: they have been educated about the risks of match-fixing and know how to act when approached to illegally manipulate a match. It has improved the players’ sense of security.
KEFWA’s active involvement in promoting integrity and combating match-fixing has elevated its credibility and reputation within the country’s football community. The organisation is perceived as a strong advocate for the well-being and ethical standards of its players. The project also strengthened KEFWA’s network because of the collaboration with other organisations.
According to KEFWA, the project has had a significant impact in promoting ethical behaviour and transparency. KEFWA has created stronger partnerships in football as a result.