FIFA threatens sanctions over voting process for ‘Best’ awards
FIFA has threatened possible sanctions against some national federations over the voting process for its annual “The Best” awards following media coverage questioning the poll’s integrity which the world governing body described as “unfair and misleading.”
The glitzy awards hosted at the Teatro alla Scala in Milan on Monday honored the world’s top footballers and coaches.
Winners of the best men’s player and coach were selected by an international jury comprising the coaches of all men’s national teams (one per team), the captains of all men’s national teams (one per team), one specialist journalist from each territory represented by a national team and fans from all over the world who registered on FIFA.com.
However, in the days following the awards ceremony there was confusion as to who had voted on behalf of Nicaragua, after captain Juan Barrera took to Twitter, contradicting reports he had taken part in the polling.
In fact, Manuel Rosas had voted on behalf of the Central American country ranked 148th in the world, with the Nicaraguan federation erroneously submitting Barrera’s name.
“FENIFUT would like to leave it clear that this whole situation was a misunderstanding. We take responsibility for the administrative error and we understand the annoyance it could cause to one of our captains,” read the statement which was shared on Twitter.
“FENIFUT would like to apologize for the misunderstanding that this whole issue generated.”
On Thursday, it was widely reported that votes cast by the Egyptian coach Shawky Gharib and captain Ahmed Elmohamady for the best men’s player were not recorded as they were signed in capital letters which is in breach of FIFA’s voting rules.
The two representatives of the Egyptian Football Association (EFA) nominated their countryman and Liverpool forward Mohammad Salah.
In a statement sent to CNN, FIFA said that the EFA’s voting forms were not signed by the federation’s general secretary, which is mandatory.
FIFA said it had twice contacted the EFA requesting the correctly signed forms but had not received a response by August 21.
“Therefore, the votes from the EFA could not be counted,” said FIFA in a statement. The EFA did not immediately respond to CNN’s request for comment.
FIFA also said it had checked the voting documents submitted by the Sudanese FA and “all documents are signed and confirmed with the official stamp” of the North African federation.
“We confirm that we have the right votes signed by the player/coach. We are asking the Sudanese Football Federation to inquire on this matter.”
The Sudanese FA has yet to respond to CNN’s request for a comment.
The voting procedure for the awards was supervised and monitored by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) Switzerland.
“FIFA and PwC follow the Rules of Allocation and relevant standard control procedures,” said FIFA in a statement.
“As per these procedures, FIFA requested all member associations to submit their voting forms both electronically and in writing. The written documents must also be signed by the responsible persons of the association as well as the persons authorized to vote.”
FIFA said there was no doubt “whatsoever as to the authenticity of the result.”
The world governing body added: “Should there have been any case of wrong-doing, and even if this did not affect the result of the vote, FIFA will investigate and apply sanctions where necessary.”
Lionel Messi won the world’s best player award, with Megan Rapinoe named the best women’s player. Liverpool’s Jurgen Klopp won the best manager award, while Jill Ellis picked up the gong for the best women’s after guiding the USA to a fourth World Cup in July.