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FIFPro Europe and the European parliament have signed a strategic partnership to raise awareness about the 2019 European Elections and the importance of voting.

The strategic partnership will include the appointment of European Player Ambassadors to promote the May 23-26 elections. Nilla Fischer, the Swedish international, captain of VFL Wolfsburg and two-time World XI player, was announced today as the first ambassador.

“Players and athletes have a long tradition of speaking up for their own rights and their communities,” Fischer said. “It is important for all people to express their opinions and to take a stand for the societies they want to live in.  We should not just leave it to politicians to figure out what we want or don’t want.

“It is a great responsibility to become an ambassador for the European Parliament and that’s why this time I am voting for equal rights and call on people go vote for whatever matters most to them.”

The European Parliament will announce further European Player Ambassadors on the thistimeiamvoting.eu platform. Together with FIFPro Europe, player unions across the continent have also committed to promote participation in the elections.

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Players do not only represent the beating heart of Europe’s most popular sport but have strong links to the communities in which they are playing, Jonas Baer-Hofmann, Secretary General of FIFPro Europe, said.

“FIFPro Europe takes on problems not only faced by footballers, but those that often affect wider society,” Baer-Hofmann said. “This is why players are committed to tackling social injustices and fighting against discrimination in all forms as well as many other issues.

"These are challenges we know affect our players on the field, but also countless others, every day. I would like to personally thank the President of the European Parliament and its entire administration for this joint initiative.”

The importance of strengthening democratic processes and inspiring European citizens to be active, engage in their communities and participate in the European Elections was echoed by Antonio Tajani, President of the European Parliament.

“The European Parliament and FIFPro Europe both understand that it is more important than ever to get as many citizens to participate in the democratic process by voting in the next elections,” Tajani said. “This new partnership is testimony to that.

“Players are citizens first and professional athletes second but they have the unique ability to inspire citizens to fight for the causes that they believe in – and the 2019 European Elections  are an important milestone for citizens to express in which Europe they want to live in.”

The strategic partnership is supported at the national level by 10 player unions across Europe: AIC (Italy), VDF (Austria), HUNS (Croatia), AFE (Spain), SJPF (Portugal), SFS (Sweden), SPINS (Slovenia), CAFH (Czech Republic), JPY (Finland), and PASP (Cyprus).

The player unions will sign in the next weeks national collaboration agreements with the European Parliament representation offices in the respective countries.

Main picture: FIFPro's Jonas Baer-Hoffman, HUNS (Croatia) president Dario Simic and AIC (Italy) president Damiano Tommasi present a Juventus shirt to Antonio Tajani. The shirt bears the name of Sara Gama, the Juventus defender. Credit: EP/Daina Le Lardic.

Picture below: Swedish footballer Nilla Fisher. Credit: VI Images.