The Finnish football captain receives an international award for his human rights work

Captain of the Finnish national football team Tim Sparv has received the 2021 Player Voice Award from FIFPro in recognition of his activism and advocacy for human rights, equality, anti-racism and the fight against climate change.

"The committee is impressed with the way Tim speaks in favor of marginalized groups. He is a great example to others, not only raising awareness on key issues such as education, equality and human rights, but also taking action when he deems it necessary." the award jury stated.

FIFPro, or Fédération Internationale des Associations de Footballeurs Professionnels, is made up of 67 national football associations and represents 65,000 professional footballers worldwide.

"I’m moved, I’m really happy, I’m honored. I know a lot of athletes around the world do a lot of good work. So this means a lot to me," Sparv, 34, said upon receiving the honor.

He added that football players and athletes in general play an important role not only in sport but also in society.

"More and more athletes dare to take a stand and do something outside the field. This new generation has inspired me too. They understand that they are privileged people who have got a lot out of the sport and want to give back," he said.

In September, Sparv wrote an article for The Player’s Tribune, an online sports magazine that publishes first-person stories from professional athletes and called for more efforts to support migrant workers who are building Stadiums for next year’s Qatar World Cup finals.

"I am not an expert, but as the captain of the Finnish national team, I know that I may soon be playing in stadiums that have cost their lives." Sparv wrote at the time.

He has also spoken publicly about racism in the game and equal pay for male and female players.

The story continues after the picture.

Sparv has talked about several different things.Jaani Lampinen / General

Sparv said he is now following Fifa more closely because he believes players should be more involved in decision-making.

"We have a lot to offer. However, we are just people who play sports on the field. It seems that our opinion is not as important as the others. It’s pretty weird" Sparv said.

"Maybe when I was younger I was a little naive. I thought and waited for Fifa to make only good and positive decisions for the players and everyone else."

FIFPro has been awarding Merit Awards to professional footballers since 2008. The awards are divided into three categories: Player Impact, Player Voice and Player Activism.

The organization’s 2021 activism award went to a Norwegian midfielder Morten Thorsby his efforts to raise awareness of the effects of climate change at the same time as the Impact Award was given to the Slovak goalkeeper Patrik Le Giang their work to help children in education and sports.

There are more prizes, including this year’s and previous winners, here.

Source: The Nordic Page


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