The Federation of International Football Association, FIFA, on Thursday dismissed claims that the world football governing body rigged the World Player of the Year award votes to ensure Barcelona captain, Lionel Messi won the top prize.
Messi won this year’s FIFA Best Player on Monday at the Teatro alla Scala in Milan, Italy ahead of Liverpool’s Virgil van Dijk and Juventus superstar, Cristiano Ronaldo.
The Argentine captain took the top honour with 46 per cent of scoring points, with Van Dijk receiving 38 per cent and Ronaldo 36 per cent.
However, FIFA’s The Best awards have been hit by a vote-rigging scandal, as football associations and captains have claimed they did not vote for Barcelona captain, Lionel Messi.
Nicaragua captain, Juan Barrera sparked calls for an investigation into the integrity of the vote after he insisted he did not vote for Messi.
“I did not vote Messi in The Best 2019 awards. Any information about me is false.” Barrera said on Twitter.
Reacting to Barrera’s claims, FIFA released a statement to ESPN: “We have checked the voting documents submitted by the Nicaraguan FA and all documents are signed and confirmed with the official stamp of the Nicaraguan FA.
“Having compared with the vote sheets submitted by the federation and the ones we have published on FIFA.com, we confirm that we have the right votes signed by the player.
“We are asking the Nicaraguan Football Federations to inquire on this matter.”