Public to vote for Fifa award

Fifa will allow the public to vote in a rebranded version of its player of the year of the award, world soccer’s governing body said yesterday.

Public to vote for Fifa award

The annual ceremony in Zurich, which until last year was jointly organised with France Football and known as the Ballon d’Or, would be renamed “The Best Fifa Football Awards” after a split with the French magazine.

Under the new system, half the votes will belong to players and coaches of the world’s 211 national teams and half to the public, via an online ballot, and selected media representatives.

“This event will be about football and its most passionate participants — players, coaches and fans,” said Fifa president Gianni Infantino.

Eight awards will be handed out, including the best coach, best women’s player and women’s coach, the fair play award and fan award. Last year’s player of the year award, won by Lionel Messi ahead of Cristiano Ronaldo, saw tactical voting by players.

Messi, voting as Argentina captain, picked Barcelona team-mates Luis Suarez, Neymar, and Andres Iniesta and Ronaldo, as Portugal captain, chose Real Madrid team-mates Karim Benzema, James Rodriguez and Gareth Bale.

Meanwhile Infantino has paid tribute to Silvio Gazzaniga, creator of the World Cup trophy, who passed away yesterday in his home city of Milan at the age of 95. “The World Cup is a mythic object for the players and for all football lovers. We will be eternally grateful,” said Infantino.

After Brazil were allowed to keep the Jules Rimet trophy in 1970 following their third World Cup triumph, Fifa received 53 proposals from seven different countries for a new trophy, before opting for Gazzaniga’s design.

The 18-carat gold trophy weighs 6kgs and represents two athletes at the stirring moment of victory.

Elsewhere Germany coach Joachim Low has signed a new contract keeping him in the role until after Euro 2020.

Low succeeded Jurgen Klinsmann as Germany boss in 2006 and led them to World Cup glory in 2014.

In five major tournaments at the helm, Germany have always made it at least to the semi-finals, while they were beaten finalists at Euro 2008.

Should Low see out his new contract, he would break the all-time record of 167 games as Germany coach held by Sepp Herberger. He has already beaten Herberger’s record of wins (94) in his 141 games.

No Germany coach has ever been in charge for seven major tournaments.

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