FIFA threatens sanctions over voting process in annual awards ceremony

Atlanta: FIFA has threatened some national federations with possible sanctions over the voting process in the annual FIFA awards ceremony.

After the ceremony, there were few reports which questioned the integrity with which the polls were conducted to honour the players. However, in a statement FIFA deemed these reports as "unfair and misleading".

"These reports are unfair and misleading. The voting procedure for each of the awards is supervised and monitored by an independent observer, in this case, PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) Switzerland. 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 by the persons authorised to vote. Therefore in order for a vote to be valid, it must include the respective signatures and the member association's stamp," FIFA said in an official statement.

"Consequently, there is no doubt whatsoever as to the authenticity of the result. 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," it added.

The winners of the best men's player and coach were selected by an international jury and it comprised of 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 are registered on FIFA.com.

There was huge speculation over the votes cast by the Egyptian coach Shawky Gharib and captain Ahmed Elmohamady for the best men's player. It was reported that their votes were not recorded as they were signed in capital letters which are in breach of FIFA's voting rules.

The two representatives of the Egyptian Football Association (EFA) had nominated fellow countryman and Liverpool striker Mohammad Salah.

In the ceremony, Argentine striker Lionel Messi won his sixth Best FIFA Men's Player of the year whereas USA's Megan Rapinoe won Best FIFA Women's Player.

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