FC Bayern President Uli Hoeness has publicly stated Bayern Munich will scrutinize balloting for FIFA’s World Footballer of the Year award that came in after the initial November 15 deadline. Bayern’s Franck Ribery, who has already been named European Footballer of the year, was thought to be the favorite for the FIFA award until balloting was extended.
Ribery led Bayern to the treble this past season and also played a major role in France’s qualification for the World Cup.
“We will look at every single vote that came in prior to Nov. 15 and at the votes that came in afterwards,” Hoeness stated in an interview with Munich based paper TZ.
To me, FIFA’s decision to extend the Ballon d’Or vote was simply standard operating procedure for FIFA. Coming off criticism of Sepp Blatter’s public comments about Cristiano Ronaldo, football’s governing body was looking for a way to make amends.
The decision was made to extend the voting deadline just after Ronaldo had single handedly carried Portugal from the brink of elimination to World Cup qualification. Bayern justifiably see foul play, but Hoeness — a veteran of world soccer — should know this is precisely how FIFA operates.
As for me, I would vote for Ribery. Bayern’s record in 2013 speaks for itself while France, despite not having the greatest of odds, did qualify for the World Cup. The French side is filled with younger, inexperienced players and Ribery, who has not always been a model citizen or a natural leader, helped in that process.
But FIFA’s deadline extension almost ensured Ronaldo the prize, and Bayern is rightly fuming.