Georgia captain and San Jose Earthquakes defender Guram Kashia, formerly of Vitesse, is the inaugural recipient of the UEFA Equal Game award.
Filed: Wednesday, August 22, 2018 at 19:27 UK
Last Updated: Wednesday, August 22, 2018 at 19:29 UK
While playing for Dutch club Vitesse last season, the 31-year-old defender joined other Eredivisie team captains in wearing a rainbow armband, signifying support for the LGBT community.
Kashia received fierce criticism for his actions from a number of individuals in his homeland last October, including calls to be dropped from the national team.
Nevertheless, the centre-back was defiant in the face of abuse and threats, insisting that he had no regrets about wearing the armband and underlining his full support for diversity and inclusion.
“Guram has taken an important stand to support the LGBT community and equality overall and deserves to win this award,” said UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin.
“Even though his actions sparked threats and abuse from many groups, he preached tolerance and acceptance, and helped change perceptions of this minority group in his native country of Georgia.”
Kashia, who now plays for MLS side San Jose Earthquakes, will be presented with his award at the UEFA Champions League group-stage draw and gala in Monaco on August 30.
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