Since 2008, FIFPRO has honoured professional footballers who made a great contribution to a charity through the Merit Award. We aim to build on this strong tradition, acknowledging that players are socially engaged in many different ways. Players are looking to provide others in their communities with means to improve their lives, use their platforms to address social issues or take action to impact the lives and conditions of people in need.
FIFPRO honours players in three different categories: Player Impact, Player Voice and Player Activism.
This category recognises players as activists, wherein they campaign to bring about political or social change through advocacy for a cause. This activism must be aligned to critical issues, such as those outlined in the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, and/or critical human rights issues.
Football plays a pivotal role in communities all around the world, and in times of critical need the players are working to reinforce its purpose to society. This category recognises players who have created a platform or mechanism for impactful contributions by themselves and others to a cause or movement. This goes beyond players just joining a movement, but creating the movement themselves for others to follow. It also recognises those players who have worked tirelessly to bring light and support to an issue that has negatively affected a community or disempowered group.
This category highlights players who raise their voice to elevate critical workforce or social issues. They use their voice to positively influence the development, governance and growth of their national or international football landscape, or they try to discuss and engage on topics of great importance which require influence and change.