FIFA has been forced to deny claims their Best Men’s Player of the Year vote was fixed to ensure that Lionel Messi would win the award.
Nicaragua captain Juan Barrera said that he did not vote for the Barcelona forward, who beat Cristiano Ronaldo and Virgil van Dijk to take home the prize, with votes cast by the national team manager, captains, and a variety of media representatives.
A FIFA spokesperson told ESPN FC that they checked the voting documents that had been submitted by the Nicaraguan FA and all documents were signed and confirmed with the official stamp of the federation. Having compared with the vote sheets submitted by the Nicaraguan FA and the ones they have published on FIFA.com, they confirm that they have the right votes signed by the player. Therefore, FIFA is asking the Nicaraguan FA to inquire on this matter.
Barrera, who is recorded as having voted for Lionel Messi as his first choice with Sadio Manein in the second place and Ronaldo as his No. 3, said in a social media post that he had not taken part, so any information about him was false.
Barrera added that although last year, he received an email with instructions on how to cast his vote, this year he received nothing.
Moreover, the Egypt Football Federation also questioned why ballot papers on behalf of their national football team coach and captain were not included in a FIFA document that was published after Monday’s ceremony.
FIFA said votes from Egypt for Mohamed Salah did not count as signatures on the ballot were capitalized so they seemed not valid and voting forms were not signed by the nation’s federation general secretary, which is mandatory.
FIFA also said that their voting office is monitored by independent auditors. They noted Egypt was first contacted for confirmation of the ballots.