FIFA’s prestigious The Best awards have been struck by a vote-rigging storm after claims that the ballot was rigged.
During a glitzy ceremony in Milan on Monday, September 23, Lionel Messi was crowned the best men’s player of the year ahead of Cristiano Ronaldo and Virgil van Dijk.
Now there is doubt and questions are being asked over the legitimacy of the voting with countries claiming they didn’t vote for Lionel Messi.
Read full report below.
The Egyptian football association, Sudan’s coach Zdravko Logarusic and Nicaragua’s captain Juan Barrera have raised concerns over the authenticity of the ballots – citing uncounted or misallocated votes.
Egypt’s association have called on FIFA to explain why the votes of its national coach Shawki Ghareeb and captain Ahmed were not taken into account.
Ghareeb and El-Mohammadi are not mentioned in FIFA’s publication of official votes.
The Egyptian Football Federation claim they officially sent Egypt’s vote to FIFA on August 15, four days before the deadline.
Their statement ‘asks FIFA why the Egyptian vote was not accepted’ and goes on to confirm the EFA have opened an ‘investigation’ into the circumstances of this failure.
Additionally, Sudan’s coach Lugarisic and Nicaragua’s Juan Barrera took to social media to indicate that the votes published by FIFA, in their names, did not reflect their actual choices.
Lugarisic says his first choice was Egypt’s Mohamed Salah but FIFA’s voting document showed Messi as his first selection.
Barrera is also adamant that he did not vote for Messi, as claimed by FIFA.
‘I did not vote for Messi. I was surprised to be on the list of captains who voted for Messi and there is no explanation how it appeared there,’ Barrera is reported to have said.