Opinion

Claire Faucon
Director of Bergères-les-Vertus school

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27/06/2018 par Claire Faucon

Passion and Peaceful Fervour for Football!

We live in a violent world where, even though diplomacy plays its part, a pervasive element is omnipresent. Every day, news reporters tell us about the horror of conflicts erupting everywhere in the world. When you play sport, friendly confrontation replaces armed or terrorist confrontation and fosters values of self-transcendence, listening and respect of the other’s differences. Football is a popular sport, whereby a simple ball brings together many different generations to watch matches without hatred or violence. This sport has already been shown to help to combat racism – first and foremost in selecting team members, where positive values of non-discrimination are used.

Football is a collective sport that has, over the years, become more appealing to women, thus helping equality between the sexes. Indeed, a secondary effect of the increase in the number of women’s teams is that we have more women sports journalists and commentators; girls no longer think twice about joining a football team, and like men, women happily show their fervent support for their team.

Football encourages enthusiasm and emotional sharing at the same time regardless of sex, age, social status or religion. This explains why the Football World Cup is the biggest sporting event in the world and therefore has a major international media impact. This is why it can play an important role in peace promotion.

Fans display a common identity by wearing their team’s t-shirt, eliminating economic and class distinctions. The special ‘fan’ status comes from the fact that they belong to a group that will bring non-violent support to its champions in games. In this way, supporters at each World Cup perpetuate the humanistic values of Jules Rimet, the first president of FIFA and founder of the first Football World Cup: dialogue and friendship between individuals and nations through the practice of sport and sharing common ideals about international solidarity at the service of peace.

Jules Rimet also believed in the educational power of football’s values of social cohesion, which are still valid today. Furthermore, since football like all team sports, is based on respect for rules, personal commitment to the team and fraternity between players in fair competitions, it is a source of mutual understanding between nations.

On the supporters2018.com website, fans of the 2018 tournament can express individual and group experiences through messages or a selfie photo. In this way, a unique picture of the tournament is built through fans’ own emotions ranging from laughter to tears depending on how their team performs. By posting on this site, fans show their determination to fight against the aggressive and vengeful behaviour of some, and to affirm their quest for a peaceful victory. This site gives importance to the testimonies of unknown people around the world who embody the power of football for peace, in addition to the players who they regard as role-models.

In an innovative way, the supporters2018.com website will conserve happy memories from the 2018 Football World Cup in the daily lives of millions of people around the world! Generally, the photos of fans that we see have been taken by journalists to illustrate their reports. The important concept of this site is that now, for the first time, all photos are taken by fans themselves, as well as text. It’s a voluntary and strong way to communicate each fan’s personal commitment to contribute to a shared worldwide message for peace through sport!

The supporters2018.com site is a private, free initiative without political, religious or economic bias, which shows that enjoying top-level sport can help to fight against bigotry, violence, hatred and racism. Above all, this site proves that the individuality of supporters united in peaceful patriotism behind their teams can generate a huge, international movement for fraternity and peace through sport!

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