FARE AMBASSADOR AND FIFA ANTI-RACISM TASK FORCE CONSULTANT
Having been a target of racist abuse from CSKA Moscow fans, Yaya is a passionate and vocal supporter of football’s efforts to tackle racial discrimination in the game. A consultant on FIFA’s Task Force against Racism and Discrimination, Yaya has been a key figure in discussions around preventing abuse at the 2018 World Cup in Russia – even raising the prospect of a player boycott of the competition if incidents of racism persist within the country. The Ivorian is also committed to helping introduce education programmes for national football associations to prevent future generations from experiencing racist abuse as he has done.
“The first time I was discriminated against, I was shocked,” says Yaya, describing the motivation behind his involvement and support for FARE (Football Against Racism in Europe). “I was younger, so it was difficult to take in. Every time I touched the ball there was a chant, there were monkey sounds – it hurt a lot. After, I would think to myself I have to fight against this, I have to show I am stronger than this.”
“To be involved is an important thing I want to be a part of. I have been involved with a lot of things relating to discrimination and racism in football and I think now I’m the voice of the people. I want to try to give them a voice and adjust that for them so they can express these things. In this sport, on the pitch or wherever else we are doing our job, it is very important people know we are human beings, we want to be treated the same way.”
“Football is about togetherness and happiness. My point of view is to show them they need to change or else there will be a radical sanction.”