20/11/2017 - 11:25

Voting closes on 2017 Peace and Sport Awards, as Manchester United star Juan Mata was selected among nominees

Spanish football star Juan Mata is among the high-profile nominees for the 2017 Peace and Sport Awards, after voting closed on the Champion of the Year category.

Mata, a UEFA Champions League winner with Chelsea and FIFA World Cup winner with Spain, is nominated in the category for his work throughout 2017 on the Common Goal initiative.

The initiative, of which Mata has been both an active participant and ambassador of this year, invites footballers to donate 1% of their salary to a collective fund, which is then distributed to football charities most deserving.

Mata was the first player to join the scheme and his inspiration has seen global icons Giorgio Chiellini, Mats Hummels, Shinji Kagawa and USA Women’s National Team stars Alex Morgan and Megan Rapinoe join the campaign.

Thomas Preiss, co-founder of Common Goal, will speak at the 2017 Peace and Sport International Forum, where the Awards will be handed out, discussing the organisation and his work promoting it around the world, and the importance of the athlete platform in the peace-though-sport movement.

The Champion of the Year category was open for vote on social media, with Mata pitted against Afghanistan women’s football captain, Khalida Popal, and French track and field star Ladji Doucoure. The Award rewards an international athlete who has led a significant sport initiative towards peaceful change, and was the only vote open to public vote. The In Memory of Guo Chan Award is selected by the Champions for Peace, while the NGO of the Year is chose by attendees of the Forum. The remaining eight category winners are selected by a special jury, the composition of which will be announced soon.

Please see here the full list of nominees.

On his nomination, Manchester United and Spain midfielder Juan Mata said:

“It is an honour for me to be nominated for this award, and I want to thank Peace and Sport for giving me the opportunity to share my message. As sports people, I believe we have a responsibility to use our public status to communicate ideas of peace and hope to our fans, and I hope that I can inspire many more athletes, and footballers, to stand up and spread this word. Football has given me opportunities I never dreamed of, and I feel that it is important that I give back and change the lives of those less fortunate.”

The Peace and Sport Awards will be handed out at a ceremony on Thursday 7th of December in Monaco, during the tenth Peace and Sport International Forum. The Forum, taking place from December 6th – 8th, brings together leading thinkers from across both the sport world and the peace movement to share best practice. This year will celebrate the tenth year of the organisation’s existence, and the theme of the Forum will be Sport Innovation for Social Transformation, focussing on the importance of social innovation and forward-thinking in helping to transform societies through sport. To find out more about the Forum, click here.

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