Ballon d'Or adds Socrates award for players who tackle social issues

The prize will be awarded by a jury that includes former Brazil and Paris Saint-Germain midfielder Rai, who is Socrates' younger brother, as well as representatives of France Football and leaders of the Monaco-based Peace and Sport organization.

Ritesh PathakAuthor

Updated - 21 September 2022 11:39 PM

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Ballon d’Or organizers on Wednesday announced the addition of a new category to the annual award. The organizers said that they are adding a humanitarian prize to this year's ceremony named for Socrates the elegant Brazil midfielder, who also held a medical degree. This award will be given to those who tackle social issues and take the best social initiatives. 

Those initiatives will include those promoting social integration, protection of the environment or aid to groups who are disadvantaged, threatened or victims of conflict.

The prize will be awarded by a jury that includes former Brazil and Paris Saint-Germain midfielder Rai, who is Socrates' younger brother, as well as representatives of France Football and leaders of the Monaco-based Peace and Sport organization.

 "The Socrates Prize will identify the best social initiative by committed champions," said a statement from France Football magazine, which awards the Ballon d'Or. 

France Football also gave the reason behind choosing Socrates as the name of the award. They said they chose Socrates, who died in 2011 aged 57, because of his committment to a campaign he helped organize at his club, Corinthians in Sao Paulo, while Brazil was under a military dictatorship called "Corinthian Democracy".

While they were warned to stop interfering in political affairs, the players escaped unpunished because of their high profile and because they focused on introducing democracy only at their club, insisting there was a vote on decisions on how the club was run.

"Socrates always believed in the power of sport to mobilise and transform society to make it more equal," said Rai in a statement. "He demonstrated this as a player through his fight for the re-democratization of Brazil. Eleven years after his death, he remains the symbol of the champion committed to a more just world." 

The Ballon d'Or gala will be held in Paris on October 17.

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