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July 11, 2006

Brazil and Spain share FIFA Fair Play Award

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July 11, 2006

BERLIN: Brazil and Spain have been chosen by the FIFA Technical Study Group (TSG) as the joint winners of the FIFA Fair Play Award for the 2006 FIFA World Cup Germany, after picking up a total of 886 points from the 1,000 available.

The FIFA Fair Play Award is given to the team with the best record of Fair Play, sportsmanship and good conduct both on and off the pitch, according to a points system and criteria established by the FIFA Committee for Ethics and Fair Play.

Every single game at the tournament is evaluated according to these criteria, but only teams which reach the Round of 16 are considered eligible for the prize. The squads will share the prestigious FIFA Fair Play Trophy, plus receive medals for each member of its playing and coaching staff, a certificate, and a voucher for 50,000 US dollars worth of sporting material to be used in youth development. The evaluation is carried out according to six criteria which place an emphasis on the positive rather than the negative aspects of a team’s performance.

The number of cards a team receives is the only way that points can be deducted. The other criteria taken into consideration are: Positive Play, with points awarded for an attractive, offensive-minded playing style; respect for opponents; respect for the officials; Behaviour of the coaching staff and the Behaviour of supporters.

For the third time in the history of the award, the Brazilian national team can take pride in having won the FIFA Fair Play Award. That said, the Auriverde’s fanatical supporters would have clearly preferred their team to repeat their magnificent double from USA 1994, the Selecao taking home both the FIFA Fair Play Award and the FIFA World Cup Trophy.

While Brazil may have shown only rare glimpses of their renowned jogo bonito here on German soil, they cannot be accused of not playing fair. Leading by example was Canarinho defender Lucio, who went more than four games without conceding a

single free-kick. The Bayern Munich centre-back committed his first foul in his side’s quarter-final defeat against France.

Luis Aragones’s flamboyant Spanish side may have ended up heading home earlier than expected after their flying start to this summer’s showpiece tournament, but at least they can take some consolation from winning the FIFA Fair Play Award for the very first time. Widely known in footballing circles as La Furia Roja (The Red Fury), Xavi and Co channelled their aggression into playing an open, expansive style of football, teamed with the very highest standards of sportsmanship.

La Seleccion received just six cards in their four games here at Germany 2006. Strangely enough, three of these cards were shown to members of Aragones’s second-string side deployed in the Spaniards’ final group game against Saudi Arabia.

PREVIOUS WINNERS

Korea/Japan 2002: Belgium

France 1998: England and France

USA 1994: Brazil

Italy 1990: England

Mexico 1986: Brazil

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