When earthquakes and tsunamis hit Japan in March of 2011, they destroyed millions of lives and had devastating effects on infrastructure and the economy. At that point, football was the last thing on anyone's mind, but the natural disaster happened just three months before the Japan women's national football team was set to head to Germany for the 2011 FIFA Women's World Cup. There were questions about whether or not they could participate in the tournament.
Not only did they participate, but as everyone knows by now, they won the tournament. The Japanese FA have done an incredible job to keep that team and the men's national team, as well as youth football and the J. League running in a difficult situation.
The first FIFA Fair Play Award was presented in 1987, four years before the first FIFA World Player Award. Since then, the award has been bestowed upon fans of clubs and national teams, as well as upon associations and individual players. Last year, the FIFA Fair Play Award was given to Haiti's U-17 women's national team.