The XXVII edition of the Fair Play Menarini International Award officially kicks off with the announcement of the winners

The prestigious roster of sports champions set to receive the XXVII Fair Play Menarini International Award has been officially revealed.

A press conference took place on Monday, June 19, 2023, dedicated to the upcoming event, which is set to kick off on July 3 in Florence. The celebration will continue on July 4 with a grand gala dinner organized in the capital of Tuscany, and the award ceremony will be held on July 5 at the Roman Theater in Fiesole.

At Salone d’Onore of CONI, in Rome, the names of those deserving individuals who have exhibited exemplary conduct and earned a rightful place among the Fair Play awardees were officially announced.


The Awardees

The 2023 edition features a group of twelve legends from the world of sports, alongside four promising young talents who epitomize fair play.

Leading the way is the revered Inter captain Javier Zanetti, representing the world of football alongside Marcelo Bielsa, the new technical director of Uruguay, and Antonio Cabrini, former Azzurri world champion in 1982. Moving from the football field to aquatic arenas, the representatives of Italian swimming are Massimiliano Rosolino, a multiple Olympic medalist, and Paralympic champion Giulia Ghiretti. The list goes on with Argentine basketball icon Luis Alberto Scola Balvoa and former coach of the Iranian women’s national volleyball team Alessandra Campedelli

Fencing is represented by Italian foil star Elisa Di Francisca, while track and field is celebrated through the accomplishments of Larissa Iapichino, long jump winner at the last Golden Gala. Sports journalism and fair play will be embodied by Jacopo Volpi, the newly appointed director of Rai Sport. Lastly, winter sports will be represented by two stars of alpine skiing and biathlon, Deborah Compagnoni and Lisa Vittozzi, respectively.

In addition to the 2023 awardees, a delegation of Fair Play Menarini Ambassadors, who were honored in previous editions, will join the event. Among them are sprinter Tommie Smith, a symbol of the fight against racial discrimination; Edwin Moses, a four-time world record holder in the 400-meter hurdles, and the divine Federica Pellegrini. The delegation also includes Arrigo Sacchi, a successful coach and innovator of the game of football, and Giancarlo Antognoni, the captain and enduring symbol of Fiorentina. The memory of Pietro Mennea, who received the award in 2003, will be commemorated through the testimony of his wife, Manuela Olivieri.


The significance of Fair Play in the words of institutions

The Fair Play Menarini International Award has become one of the invaluable assets in the realm of Italian sports,” stated Giovanni Malagò, President of CONI. “I have witnessed its growth, and it is a testament to the support it receives from various stakeholders, including the Fair Play Menarini Foundation board comprising Antonello Biscini, Valeria Speroni Cardi, and Ennio Troiano. The concept of fair play resonates universally, as evidenced by the enthusiastic participation of the awardees, who take immense pride in receiving this recognition. The expansion of the project and its inclusion of young individuals further exemplify its evolution and the vast possibilities it encompasses.

Ennio Troiano, board member of the Fair Play Menarini Foundation, confirmed the Foundation’s dedication, echoing the sentiments expressed by CONI President Giovanni Malagò:

Year after year, we strive to achieve excellence, relying on collaborative efforts. This year brings an exciting development, with the event taking place in both Florence and Fiesole. This step is significant as Florence has always been our focal point, while Fiesole warmly welcomes us for the first time, offering a splendid and extraordinary backdrop.

The representatives of the municipalities of Florence and Fiesole also expressed their enthusiasm for hosting esteemed sports figures and advocates of fair play.

Welcoming sports legends and proponents of fair competition in our municipality fills us with immense pride,” commented Anna Ravoni, Mayor of Fiesole. “I am confident that all participants will carry cherished memories of an unforgettable evening celebrating the core values of sports, which the Fair Play Menarini International Award has been promoting for years.


A dedicated space for young athletes

The 2023 edition introduces a new aspect with the inclusion of the “Young Athletes” category, recognizing junior athletes who have demonstrated exemplary acts of fair play.

During the press conference on June 19, the first recipients of this category were fencers Mariaclotilde Adosini and Emilia Rossatti, who displayed remarkable sportsmanship towards their opponents. Additionally, karateka Giorgio Pietro Torrisi was recognized for his honest attitude towards an opponent who had been unfairly penalized due to a refereeing error.

Furthermore, the prestigious Fiamme Gialle “Study and Sport” Award has been confirmed and will be presented to swimmer Gianluca Gensini on June 27 in Florence.

Sport holds the power to transform the world, and true change begins with younger generations. It is crucial for children to feel engaged in this fundamental aspect,” expressed Cosimo Guccione, Sports Councillor of the City of Florence. “We currently live in a time where young people are often criticized for their perceived lack of values and motivation to make a difference. However, sports demonstrate every day how even the youngest individuals can commit themselves, work hard, and achieve extraordinary results. The introduction of the Fair Play Menarini “Young Athletes” category was a visionary decision.


The Program

The official opening is scheduled for Monday, July 3, with the talk show “I campioni si raccontano” (Champions Tell Their Stories), hosted by Ivan Zazzaroni. The show will bring the voices of the Fair Play Ambassadors to the stage in Florence’s Piazza della Signoria. This live broadcast on RTV38 provides an excellent opportunity to delve into the backgrounds, anecdotes, reflections, and curiosities surrounding their illustrious careers.

The events continue on Tuesday, July 4, in Florence with a grand gala dinner held in the breathtaking setting of Piazzale Michelangelo, where renowned sports figures will be in attendance.

The grand finale is scheduled for Wednesday, July 5, as the Award moves to the enchanting Roman Theater in Fiesole for the awards ceremony. The ceremony will be broadcast live on Sportitalia, with Lorenzo Dallari and Rachele Sangiuliano serving as hosts. As an additional treat, the audience will be treated to two musical surprises: the unmistakable voices of Neri per Caso, preceded by the swing band Papillon.


Here is the list of awardees and categories for the XXVII Fair Play Menarini International Award:


  • JAVIER ZANETTI, “Legendary Figure” Category
  • DEBORAH COMPAGNONI, “Career Fair Play” Category
  • ALESSANDRA CAMPEDELLI, “Social Values of Sport” Category
  • ANTONIO CABRINI, “A Role Model For Youth” Special Prize Paolo Rossi Category
  • ELISA DI FRANCISCA, “Sport and Courage” Category
  • GIULIA GHIRETTI, “Sport Beyond Sport” – Energy and Heart SUSTENIUM Category
  • LARISSA IAPICHINO, “A Smile for Life” Category
  • MASSIMILIANO ROSOLINO, “Sport Promotion” Category
  • LUIS ALBERTO SCOLA BALVOA, “Fair Play” Category
  • LISA VITTOZZI, “Fair Play and Environment” Category
  • JACOPO VOLPI, “Narrating Emotions” Special Prize Franco Lauro Category
  • MARCELO BIELSA, “Gesture of Fair Play” Category
  • MARIACLOTILDE ADOSINI, “Young Athletes” Category
  • EMILIA ROSSATTI, “Young Athletes” Category
  • GIORGIO PIETRO TORRISI, “Young Athletes” Category
  • GIANLUCA GENSINI, “Study and Sport” Special Prize Fiamme Gialle Category