Megan Rapinoe, crowned The Best women's player in the FIFA award ceremony on Monday, hailed the activists that have inspired her, including Raheem Sterling, Kalidou Koulibaly and Sahar Khodayari, a young Iranian fan who burned herself to death after being tried for entering a stadium.
She used her platform to pay tribute to those who have inspired her in her battle for equality in the game, such as the victims of racial abuse, LGBT players and the story of Sahar Khodayari, an Iranian football fan who self-immolated outside a courtroom after learning she could face six months in prison for trying to enter a stadium.
“Stories that have inspired me most; Raheem Sterling and Kalidou Koulibaly, the young Iran woman who burnt to death, the one out MLS player, the out NWSL players,” she said during her acceptance speech.
“If we really want to have meaningful change, what I think is most inspiring would be if everybody other than Sterling and Koulibaly, if they were as outraged about racism as they were, if everybody was as outraged about homophobia as the LGBTQ players, if everybody was as outraged about the lack of equal pay and investment in the women’s game other than just women, that would be the most inspiring thing to me.
That’s my ask of everybody. We have such incredible opportunity, being professional football players... we have so much success… we have incredible platforms.
"I ask everybody here to lend your platform, to lift people up, to use this beautiful game to change the world for better."