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A simple gesture which inspired a movement uniting footballers worldwide. FIFPro applauds the distinguished and creative manner in which Dani Alves and Neymar tackled one of society's worst plagues: racism.

For those who missed it, last Sunday, Dani Alves was ready to take a corner kick at El Madrigal, the home of Villarreal, when a banana thrown from the stands landed at his feet. The Barcelona wingback reacted by picking up the banana, peeling its skin and taking a bite. Then he continued with the corner kick.

His injured team-mate Neymar, watching the match at home, promptly reacted by creating a picture of himself and his son while eating a banana. He added the text, "We are all monkeys".

Neymar's post on Instagram went viral on social media, as many footballers followed his example, including Roberto Carlos, Mario Balotelli, Hulk, Sergio Aguero, Marta, Willian, David Luiz, Oscar, Luis Suarez, Philippe Coutinho, Lucas Moura, Alexander Song, Robert Lewandowski and Fernandinho.

FIFPro welcomes the positive reactions by Dani Alves and Neymar. The representative of 65,000 professional footballers worldwide still notices that too many players are victims of hooligans that aim to disturb football matches with their ignorant and indecent behavior. There can be no dispute that over the last years there has been a dramatic increase in reported racist incidents in professional football.

Ultimately, footballers should have the same protection as anyone else in the workplace and be allowed to work in an environment free of racism or any other form of discrimination.

FIFPro invites the players to assist in awareness campaigns. For many people, football players are role models, even heroes. They can play a huge role in combatting racism and racial discrimination, as Dani Alves and Neymar smartly illustrated.

FIFPro's anti-racism strategy will build on the positive work that is taking place in our associations around the world, in particular sharing examples of good practice and encouraging initiatives such as 'Show Racism the Red Card'. Through these campaigns, FIFPro and the players aim to educate children and football fans about the risks of racism, discrimination and intolerance, and to engage them in trying to prevent and reduce racism.


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