Yaya Toure has been presented with the Laurie Cunningham award by Kick It Out, football’s equality and diversity organisation.
Named after the pioneering black English footballer, the Laurie Cunningham award recognises the commitment that one person has shown above others to Kick It Out’s key messages of equality and inclusion.
Announced at an event held at Wembley Stadium, the award recognises the Ivorian international’s commitment to highlighting inequality, drawing on his first-hand experiences.
After being racially abused in a Champions League game in 2013, Yaya spoke out about the topic of discrimination, and mooting a possible boycott of the World Cup if the global footballing authorities failed to take the issue seriously. In November last year, he reactivated his Twitter account, receiving racist messages within hours of doing so.
Yaya has taken proactive steps to tackle racism, supporting the Football Against Racism in Europe (FARE) Network as they announced plans to have monitors present during qualifying games for the 2018 FIFA World Cup.
Yaya, a consultant to FIFA’s anti-racism and discrimination taskforce, visited Kick It Out’s offices in central London in May to thank the organisation for its actions taken and support provided to him after receiving racist abuse on social media.
One of the most iconic players in the Premier League in recent years, Yaya was presented with the award after Manchester City’s final game of the season on Sunday said:
“It's an honour to receive this award. Challenging racism is vital and all of our responsibility. I am glad I can use my voice to speak for those who are not heard.
"I am particularly pleased to pick up this award, as it is named after Laurie Cunningham – a pioneer and great footballer!”
Keeley Baptista, Kick It Out's Professional Game Manager, who presented Yaya with the award said:
“There are so many people involved in the professional game who stand up against discrimination every day but there are fewer who work as proactively as Yaya does.
During the selection process, it became more and more apparent to the panel that Yaya was the obvious choice, with so much of his off-field work dedicated to tackling all forms of discrimination.”