You will have noticed that there is a different picture on this page.

The previous picture was from the 2010 FIFA World Cup but this one was taken at a recent match in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, between Bintang Muda and Majestic Stone.

They were participating in a competition organised by the Asian Football Confederation as part of its Project Future programme.

Sometimes we have got to move away from the high profile football issues and look at what makes the game so special.

Grassroots or recreational football, as distinct from professional football, is played by 99.99% of players throughout the world. Football is justifiably called ‘the people’s game.’

It is estimated that worldwide over 270 million play football and nearly 30 million of these players are women.

The professional game is very important since it sets targets for which talented players can aim but it also has important responsibilities. The top players are role models for the young players who watch them and, with the ever extending web of communication, they are seen all over the world.

Too often they forget this responsibility.

The other 99.99% just want to play football and their commitment on the field is every bit as passionate as those playing in the World Cup Final.

FIFA’s slogan is ‘For the game, for the world.’

Very admirable but it also must accept its responsibilities to the ethics of the game and keep the trust of the 99.99%.

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