As noted by the National Post:
SAO PAULO, Brazil — Barcelona’s Lionel Messi and Andres Iniesta, and Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo are the finalists for FIFA’s male player of the year.
But Canadian captain Christine Sinclair did not make the women’s shortlist.
The women’s final three consists of Americans Abby Wambach and Alex Morgan and Brazil’s Marta, a five-time winner.
Unlike the men’s list, in which the same three names were expected to show up again with either Xavi or Iniesta fighting for the third spot, the women’s list is actually interesting. Which is why the selection of Marta is so infuriating. Marta’s Brazil went out to Japan in the quarterfinals. Marta scored a single goal in the tournament, a penalty in the 73rd minute against Cameroon as part of a 5-0 drubbing.
Meanwhile Canada’s Christine Sinclair led the tournament in scoring with six goals, three against eventual gold medallists USA in the semifinal match, on their way to a bronze medal. It was by far the most high profile women’s event of the entire year. Surely Sinclair, on the evidence, is more deserving? Even Grant Wahl, who was critical of Sinclair’s and Canada’s behaviour in the semifinal against the US, acknowledged the omission:
Abby Wambach, Alex Morgan & Marta are 3 finalists for FIFA women’s Ballon d’Or (World Player of Year). Christine Sinclair > Marta in ’12.
— Grant Wahl (@GrantWahl) November 29, 2012
So what gives?
FIFA’s website explains a bit about the process:
A ten-player shortlist was unveiled for the FIFA’s Women’s Player of the Year, which was chosen by experts from FIFA’s Committee for Women’s Football and the FIFA Women’s World Cup and a group of experts from France Football.
These have both been reduced to three players for each award, being announced on 29 November.
Reduced by whom? Certainly Sinclair would have been on the list of ten. Some are already citing ‘politics’ as the reason for Sinclair’s omission (she received a fine and four game suspension for her remarks to the referee post Olympics). Yet if we’re to take FIFA’s admittedly vague wording on face value, one presumes the voting is already complete on the 10 finalists, with both journalists (who knows who they are? I didn’t vote) and FAs selecting their top three. As the FIFA gala page itself explains, “As per the men’s award, journalists, plus national coaches and captains, will all vote for the winner of FIFA Women’s World Player of the Year from this list.”
Therefore I think Ben Massey gets closer to the sad truth:
I won’t bore you by tweeting the list of Marta-voting coaches from 2011, but Belgium was the only program mentionable in polite company.
— Benjamin Massey (@Lord_Bob) November 29, 2012
Plain old ignorance/laziness, from associations who had no clue and journalists who couldn’t give a shit. Bravo, FIFA. And let this be a reminder to you kids: awards nice, but beware of throwing them around as an objective measure of quality.