The idea of fighting against chauvinism and violence in sport began to form at the beginning of the year 1963 when a seminar was held by the UNESCO Youth Institute in Germany. Sports officials of the International Committee for Sport Science and Physical Education (ICSSPE) as well as journalists representing the International Sports Press Association (AIPS) gathered to discuss the possibility of united action for the promotion of fair play.
The new initiative was inspired by a tragic event that took place at the Olympic Games in Rome in 1960 where the attitude of ’winning by all means’ took its first toll on human life. A Danish cyclist, Knud Jensen, died as a result of using prohibited performance enhancing substances. This shocking case awakened the sports world to the dangers of doping as well as the chauvinism, violence and commercialism that had started to become ever more dominant in competition. It was clear: sport had to be protected from all these frightful new tendencies. Moreover, in defending, preserving and emphasising its values sport has the power to be the inspiration for a dream in young people.
As a result of the negotiations it was decided to found the Pierre de Coubertin Fair Play Awards in order to bring to the public’s attention honourable acts in sport.
In Paris on 5 December 1963, representatives of UNESCO, AlPS, ICSSPE and the International Federations of Basketball, Football, Rugby and Wrestling established the International Committee for the Organisation of the Pierre de Coubertin Fair Play Awards.
Jean Borotra, one of the legendary four French tennis players in the 1920s nicknamed ’The Four Musketeers’ was elected the first president of the organisation (representing ICSSPE) along with Vice-Presidents Sir Stanely Rous (FIFA) and William Jones (FIBA) of Great-Britain. Jacques Ferran of France was appointed General Secretary.
On 29 January 1965, the inaugural Fair Play Award ceremony was held and the first Pierre de Coubertin Fair Play Trophy was awarded to an Italian bobsleigh competitor, Eugenio Monti for his remarkable act at the Innsbruck Olympic Winter Games in 1964. During the two-men bobsleigh final he recorded an excellent time. Only the British Tony Nash and his partner could have defeated his team. It was thanks to his gentlemanly behaviour that that is what happened. Monti realised that Nash had broken a part of his sledge and without hesitation he detached the same part from his own vehicle and lent it to his rivals who went on to record the winning time and won the gold medal.
In 1973, the organisation decided to change its name to International Committee for Fair Play (
The aim of the
In order to promote the values represented by fair play, the
To this end, the activities of the
In 1974, the
Enhancing its prestige, the CIFP in close cooperation with its eminent partners issued an important document, the ’Declaration on fair play’, which was first published in English, German and Spanish and afterwards translated into many other languages.
The activity of the committee was in full swing during these years. Meetings were regularly held in different European countries attracting the most prestigious leaders in sport, education and the media. In addition, the
In 1977, demonstrating that the fair play movement was ready to grow and make an impact not only on sport but also on society, the
In the 1980’s, noteworthy activities characterised the life of the CIFP. International seminars and consultations were organised with the participation of top leaders in sport and politics to initiate collective actions to defend the values of sport and efficiently reduce all forms of deviance, violence, doping and commercialism in sport. During this period the sculpture that has become one of the symbols of fair play since its creation by Jean Ipoustéguy was also inaugurated.
During the following decade the
The first five years of the 1990s saw a boost in the promotion of fair play. In addition to releasing a number of printed materials on the history of fair play and the award winners, the
The development of the movement came to an unfortunate and abrupt halt in 1996 after the death of the highly respected