fifa fair play award lennart thy

FIFA Fair Play Awards from 2015 to 2019

FIFA recognizes exemplary behaviours, promoting compassion about football in general.

Few are those moments where the spirit of fair play is in full display. Each year since 1987 except in 1994, the organization awards a player, team, fans, spectators, associations, and even the footballing community.

Indeed, there is more to winning a match than meets the eye.

Here are the winners of the FIFA Fair Play Award in the last five years.

2015

The award was presented to football organisations who supported the refugees during the conflict in the Middle East and Europe. Due to the ongoing civil war in Syria, many people were displaced.

Football organisations and clubs went out of their way to help the refugees. They welcomed the refugees, provided them with their basic needs including shelter, and helped them rebuild their lives.

German player, Gerald Asamoah, accepted the award.

2016

FIFA presented the award to Atletico Nacional for the team’s response to the air tragedy that the Brazilian team, Chapecoense, experienced. The team lost 19 players because of the plane crash in Colombia.

Atletico Nacional handed the Copa Sudamericana title to the team. The two clubs were about to face each other in the finals game before Chape lost its players and staff.

Former Barcelona caption presented the award to Atletico Nacional chairman Juan Carlos de la Cuesta.

2017

The award was given to Francis Kone who saved an opponent’s life by administering first-aid after a collision. He did it while on-pitch and while his team was being called names by their opponents, and FIFA humbled him with the award.

The Togo international reacted quickly when the goalkeeper to the Bohemians was knocked out by his own teammate. Kone put his fingers inside Martin Berkovec’s mouth so he won’t swallow his tongue. 

It did not meet medical guidelines, but Kone has already saved four other players through this method. He learned it from a friend who was able to save two people.

2018

Lennart Thy, a BB Erzurumspor striker, was presented with the award because of his heroic act. 

He missed an Eredivisie match against PSV Eindhoven due to donating blood to a patient who was about to undergo a leukaemia treatment. He donated his stem cells after the DNA test revealed a match.

PSV won the match. However, in an astonishing turn of events, Thy was named man of the match even though he failed to play. 

The Philips Stadion broke into applause for one full minute.

Mascots going the rounds even wore a statement shirt: Follow Lennart, become a stem cell donor. 

It was not his first time, though, as he did the same thing seven years ago before that. And the wide coverage of his gesture actually led to a dramatic increase in stem cell donations in the Netherlands.

2019

In April, the award was given to Marcelo Bielsa and Leeds United. The latter, through Mateusz Klich, scored a goal while Aston Villa had an injured player on the pitch, forward Jonathan Kodjia. 

The club allowed their opponent to score unopposed, finishing the game with 1-1. 

Both clubs are chasing an English Premier League spot, especially for Leeds United. They both failed and Sheffield United earned the spot instead.

Bielsa did the right decision to let the Villa players equalise the decision, and FIFA took notice.

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Which is your favourite fair play moment? Let us know.

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