Monday 24 September 2018, 12:54

Ethics workshops engage the next generation of stars

Ahead of the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup France 2018, players took part in a first of a new series of ethics workshops (EWS) aiming to help educate football’s next generation.

Bringing an interactive approach to discussing the likes of racism, discrimination, gender equality, harassment, corruption and bribery, the workshops look to provide a collaborative environment for players and coaches to learn about these important ethical subjects.

Fifteen of the competing teams in France got involved with the new event – held across 1 to 5 August and now set to feature at all FIFA youth tournaments – garnering widespread praise from participants. The use of games, animations and experiences from professionals were particularly highlighted as key learning tools by the players themselves.

An impressive 95 per cent of those involved said they would both act differently in future and be giving greater consideration to the ethical issues discussed, while 98 per cent rated workshops as either ‘Good’ or ‘Excellent’.

“I am grateful that we were able to attend the workshops because I was unaware how many different forms bribery and gifts can take when you are an international player," said USA defender Zoe Morse. "The workshops were educational, and I'm glad we all are more aware of these things now and for the future."

The squads were split into four competing groups, with team officials also involved, in a bid to win the title of ‘Ethics Champions’. They were also joined by a special guest in the shape of FIFA Legend and former French national team defender Laura Georges, sharing her experiences on the pitch, as well as the challenges she faced in relation to the ethical topics discussed.

“It has been an absolute pleasure and honour to share my experience in the FIFA Ethic’s programme which gives the young players the opportunity to take the responsibility to denounce racism, sexism and match manipulation,” Georges said. “In my mind, there is no special age to take responsibilities and be a good leader.”

Devised by the FIFA Task Force on the Promotion of Ethics and Fair Play, a successful pilot was run during the FIFA U-17 World Cup India 2017 – featuring seven of the attending teams – and the positive reaction has led to it now lining up as a staple of the youth football calendar.

The next EWS is already lined up for the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup Uruguay 2018, with all 16 teams expected to take part.