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:

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:

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.

Comments (11)

  1. No surprise given her suspension and the reason for it. Quality player (and she said what a whole nation was thinking), but at that level it is as much about politics as anything. Sad for Christine, but she will always be one of Canada’s greatest players.

  2. Yep, I think you’ve hit it on the head. Votes given to lazy journalists and others around the game who aren’t used them properly.

  3. I won’t pretend to know about the nature of woman’s leagues, but how did Marta do in that this year. Would that have factored in.

    Just to quickly play devil’s advocate, Sinclar was the leading scorer in an Olympic tournament where her team made third, which seems to pretty much be the basis of the argument of everyone for her inclusion on the list, but nobody is complaining that Fernando Torres, who “won” the Golden Boot at Euro 2012, is not on the men’s list (or anywhere near it). Just saying,,,

  4. ^ They talked about this on sportsnet radio this afternoon.

    Marta has done next to nothing all year. She scored one goal in the olympics on a penalty in a team the team was already blowing out the competition.

    Sinclair had 23 goals in 24 games for 2012… it’s not even close

  5. Did we really expect anything more from one of the world’s most dysfunctional organizations?

  6. FIFA is latin for “F’n Pahhhhhhthetic”

  7. FIFA are a joke. However, it’s making me nuts that so many normally sane people are failing to understand that they — the institutional arm of the organization — had next to nothing to do with Sinclair being left off the final three.

    The voters — players and coaches — from countries that pay next to no attention to women’s football that looked at the ballot and said ‘Oh, Marta. I recognize her. She must be good,’ are the ones that need to be blamed.

    Save your FIFA rage for the next time they actually deserve it. Next week is a good bet.

  8. Who the fuck is Ben Massey? Who is he a journo for?

  9. I think Christine Sinclair is the best woman player of Canadian National team. Best captain also. She has participated in two Olympics and three world cup. I like her play so much.

  10. Congrats Canadian women’s team. Really it is a grate achievement. In this Olympic Christine Sinclair has played an very important role. Her performance in here was very excellent. Hope she will continue it. Best of luck.

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