Scandal rocks FIFA Player of the Year awards as coaches cry foul
Coaches from Bolivia, Albania, Equatorial Guinea, Dominican Republic, Fiji, Kuwait and Vanuatu have alleged that the 2013 Ballon d’Or votes were rigged, according to Catalan outlet La Xarxa and and Spanish newspaper Mundo Deportivo.
Via Danish paper BT and Norway’s Dagbladet (h/t 101 Great Goals), the aforementioned coaches all suggest their original votes were recorded and published differently from what they had initially submitted.
Jorvan Vieira, who coaches the Kuwait national team, reportedly told La Xarxa (via BT), “I think there has been any fraud here. I voted for (Zlatan) Ibrahimovic.” That despite FIFA’s official record of the submissions showing that he voted for Lionel Messi as the winner, followed by Neymar and the eventual winner, Cristiano Ronaldo.
The same applies to the coach of the Fijian national team, Juan Carlos Buzzetti. FIFA recorded his vote with Ronaldo in first position ahead of Franck Ribery and Robert Lewandowski.
He also insists his votes have been amended, claiming, “I voted for Cristiano, Messi and Ribery. I have in no way voted Lewandowski. He is not on par with the other three.”
But the harshest, most colourful of all the criticism came from Albania’s coach, Gianni De Biasi. He didn’t hold back in a statement (NSFW), telling Mundo Deportivo what he thought of the scenario after his first-place vote for Ronaldo apparently changed to one for Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
“I gave five points to Ronaldo, three to Messi and one to Ibrahimovic. I did not give five to Ibrahimovic,” De Biasi said. “This is bullshit and lies.”
These allegations are the second within a week which refer to the Ballon d’Or votes being doctored, as Qatar national coach Fahad Al Zarraa previously claimed his president forced him to vote for Ronaldo, as per sportsfan.com.
The showpiece event saw Ronaldo pick up the gong for the second time in his career, staving off competition from Messi and Ribery, who accompanied him on the three-man shortlist.
Whilst it would be difficult to deny that Ronaldo deserved the award, these emerging allegations will cast doubts over the validity of the vote, especially after FIFA extended the voting deadline until after Ronaldo’s one-man show in the World Cup playoffs, according to Ian Ladyman of the Daily Mail.
The extension only served to raise suspicions that FIFA were pushing for a Ronaldo win after Sepp Blatter’s unsavoury remarks about the Portuguese winger.
The FIFA president claimed back in November that Ronaldo has “more expenses at the hairdresser” than his great rival Messi, per The Guardian.
Ronaldo scored a sensational 66 goals in 56 games in 2013, per BBC Sport. He’s started 2014 in excellent fashion too, scoring four times in Real Madrid’s first five games of 2014, per WhoScored.