Taking this into account, FIFPRO decided to revamp the Merit Award. We now honour 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.
Example: the Player Impact award is more in line with the work done by most of the previous Merit Award winners.
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.
Example: the Player Voice award honours players with activities similar to work done by the players in the FIFPRO Gallery.
FIFPRO will present the new Merit Awards for the first time on Thursday 18 February during its general assembly.
Top photo: Awer Mabil receives the 2018 FIFPRO Merit Award