FIFA clears up why Salah votes not counted for best player award amid Messi scandal
FIFA says votes for Egypt and Liverpool star Mohamed Salah were not counted in the organization’s Best Men’s Player Award due to incorrectly-completed forms, amid claims of irregularities with the process.
Salah finished fourth in the vote, announced in Milan on Monday, as Lionel Messi picked up the award for the sixth time with Liverpool and Netherlands defender Virgil van Dijk in second and Portugal and Juventus star Cristiano Ronaldo in third.
But the Egyptian FA had requested an explanation as to why the selections from coach Shawky Gharib and captain Ahmed Elmohamady were not registered in the official voting list for the award. Both say they had picked Salah as their first choice.
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FIFA now says that the signatures on the ballots “were in capital letters and thus seemed not valid (not authentic),” AP reports.
The organization also says the forms did not contain the necessary signature from the Egyptian FA’s general secretary.
FIFA has added that it sent two reminders for the correct forms to be re-submitted before the deadline on August 19.
AP notes that the Egyptian FA’s leadership was mired in chaos during July and August as a result of the country’s exit in the last 16 stage of their home Africa Cup of Nations – which they were widely fancied to win.
The voting row appears to have irked Salah, who has withdrawn the word ‘Egypt’ from his profiles on social media.
He also issued a message this week which translates as “whatever they do to try to change my love for Egypt, they will not succeed,” along with a picture of himself and images of fans and the national flag.
مهما حاولوا يغيروا حبي ليكي ولناسك مش هيعرفوا❤️❤️❤️ pic.twitter.com/CgM7w1xKXY
— Mohamed Salah (@MoSalah) September 24, 2019
The votes of official Egyptian media representative Hany Danial were registered, with his choices being Senegal and Liverpool forward Sadio Mane in first, followed by Cristiano Ronaldo and then Salah.
Elsewhere, the FIFA vote has been rocked by two claims of voting irregularities.
Sudan coach Zdravko Lugarisic and Nicaragua captain Juan Barrera both say that the votes supposed to have come from them did not reflect their actual choices.
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Logarusic has reportedly posted a photograph which appears to show his ballot as having voted for Salah, Sadio Mane and Kylian Mbappe, however the official tally shows that his votes went to Messi, Van Dijk and Mane.
Barerra, meanwhile, said on social media that he had not voted at all.
However, FIFA has shared what it says is the form confirming the Nicaragua captain’s choices, with Messi marked in first place, followed by Senegal’s Mane and then Cristiano Ronaldo.