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Football players in Costa Rica have been praised by a United Nations official for playing an important role in fighting inequality and violence.

Player association Asojupro, which represents more than 200 footballers, has signed an agreement with the Costa Rican government to create a law to fight racism and violence in sport.The union began the initiative to create the legislation.

 “We are here to build a better future for us, the players, and for the children in this country," union president Alejandro Sequeira said.

Alice Shackleford, UN Women’s Country Coordinator said: “Asojupro is important for the UN here in Costa Rica. By being a role model, football players can help these disadvantages disappear. We want a more inclusive society. This draft law project is extremely important to help realize that all of us can enjoy the world equally.”

The agreement was signed at the start of the FIFPro general assembly in San José, Costa Rica by Sequeira and Shackleford along with Congress Chairman Antonio Álvarez Desanti, Sports Minister Carolina Mauri, National Institute for Sports and Recreation Director Alba Quesada, Youth and Adolescents Committee Chairman Fabricio Alvarado and FIFPro Secretary General Theo van Seggelen.

Congress Chairman Antonio Alvarez Desanti said: “Through sports, we want to pursuit equal opportunities for all citizens regardless of their background.”

“Through sports we can reach children, keep them away from drugs, steer them to education and promote the standards that the country requires.”

Sports Minister Carolina Mauri said: "We want to use sport as a tool for social transformation. We seek the promotion of gender equity, the participation of people with disabilities, and the prevention of violence and racial discrimination so that sport is used as a tool for social transformation."

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Alice Shackleford and Alejandro Sequiera