Ballon D’Or adds Socrates Award to recognize social issues.

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The Ballon d’Or organizers on Wednesday announced they are adding a humanitarian prize to this year’s ceremony named Socrates, after the elegant Brazil midfielder.

“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.

The initiatives factored in the category include those promoting social integration, protection of the environment or aid to groups who are disadvantaged, threatened or victims of conflict.

According to France Football, they chose Socrates because of his commitment to a campaign he helped organize at his club, Corinthians in Sao Paulo, while Brazil was under a military dictatorship called “Corinthian Democracy”.

Despite being 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.

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.

“Socrates always believed in the power of sport to mobilize 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.” He added.

The Ballon d’Or gala is set to be held in Paris on October 17th.

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