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U.S. Men's National Team Awarded 1998 FIFA Fair Play Prize

ZURICH (Wednesday, January 20, 1999) - FIFA has awarded the United States the 1998 FIFA Fair Play award for the team's promotion of FIFA's Fair Play ideals in their 1998 World Cup match with Iran. Both Iran and Northern Ireland shared the prestigious honor with the U.S.

"In the middle of the World Cup, the Iranians and Americans provided a powerful demonstration of the effects of fair play when they not only joined in the spirit of FIFA's Fair Play Day on June 21 by posing together for the photographers before their match in Lyon, but also exchanged flowers and gifts among the players," said FIFA President Sepp Blatter, who added that the joint award was proof of soccer's role as a mediating force.

The 1998 honor marks the fourth time that U.S. Soccer has been recognized for a prestigious Fair Play award. The 1996 U.S. Women's National Team won the team award for their gold medal performance at the 1996 Olympics, and U.S. midfielder Julie Foudy won the 1997 Individual Fair Play Award for her humanitarian efforts. In 1989, the U.S. Under-20 Men's National Team, led by goalkeeper Kasey Keller, earned the tournament FIFA Fair Play Award for the 1989 World Youth Championship.

The Fair Play trophies will be presented at the World Player of the Year gala evening in Barcelona on Feb. 1. Several other awards will also be presented on the same occasion, including the FIFA Fair Play Prize for the 1998 World Cup (jointly to England and France). Other awards include the 1998 FIFA World Player of the Year, and the best player and top goal-scorer of France '98, and the overall best team of the year.