There's a certain sameness about the really awkwardly named 'The Best FIFA Football Awards' - not to be confused with the former Ballon d'Or Awards from whom FIFA has parted ways.

The finalists were named for this year's awards overnight which contained no real surprises, even if it did cause some consternation locally. The consternation came in the form of the three women's finalists for the period 20 November 2016 to 6 August 2017, from a shortlist of ten. 

We reported on the ten shortlisted candidates here, as it included Sam Kerr.

FIFA announced the three finalists in the women's category overnight as being:

  • Deyna Castellanos (Venezuela/Santa Clarita Blue Heat/Florida State Seminoles) 
  • Carli Lloyd (USA/Houston Dash/Manchester City Women)
  • Lieke Martens (Netherlands/FC Rosengard/FC Barcelona). 

Notice a name missing? Yes, Sam Kerr. She did not make the final three. Instead, the 2015 and 2016 winner Carli Lloyd got there again. Lieke Martens had a top year for club and country, winning the Women's Euro. And Deyna Castellanos is there because of her performances in the Under 20 Women's World Cup. Castellanos is also named as a finalist in the Puskas Award for goal of the year, which you can view here. From an Australian perspective, it's hard to fathom. 

Of course, with the letters F-I-F-A included in The Best awards, some are crying foul that Sam Kerr was left out.  

Yet much the same people who are unhappy with the three finalists are also prepared to trust FIFA when it comes to the award of the Women’s World Cup in 2023. In fact, a report from News Limited a few days ago suggested that hosting the tournament was a 'no brainer'.

In other words, FIFA can't be trusted when our Sam doesn't make it as a finalist, but FIFA can be trusted when it comes to the award of the 2023 Women's World Cup ... as long as we win it. 

After all, the official view from FFA is that FIFA is well on the way to reform.

Just as we wrote here, that's a load of bunkum. We cited several sources saying the same thing.

Only last week, a former FIFA Governance Committee Chairman has weighed-in questioning the so-called 'reform' of FIFA, via the UK's House of Commons Select Committee on Culture, Media and Sport. 

Miguel Maduro of Portugal is a former Advocate General of the European Court of Justice, Portuguese Minister for Regional Development, and a Professor of Law at the European University Institute in Florence and Yale University. FIFA President, Gianni Infantino, appointed him as Chairman of the Governance Committee in 2016 as part of the much vaunted FIFA reforms. 

Mr Maduro testified to the House of Commons Committee that he was sacked from the position, just eight months into his tenure. Why? He refused to bow to pressure from Infantino and his CEO, Fatma Samoura, to overturn his decision in relation to former FIFA Executive Committee member, Vitaly Mutko of Russia. Mr Maduro's view was that Mutko was ineligible to stand for the new FIFA Council because he is also Deputy Prime Minister of Russia, which contravenes FIFA Statutes on 'government interference'.

Infantino, Samoura - and the Russians - were not happy. 

Amongst other things, Mr Maduro told the House of Commons that FIFA is incapable of reforming itself and needs “outside pressure” to reform. (Now where have we heard that before?) If the testimony of someone as eminent as Mr Maduro wasn't enough, two other former members of the same Governance Committee - who resigned from the committee after Maduro was sacked, in protest - weighed-in to support him. 

One is a Professor of Law at New York University, Joseph Weiler, who has filed an ethics complaint against Infantino. 

The other is Navi Pillay, the former UN High Commissioner on Human Rights, who said she could no longer work with FIFA officials because they “violate the norms and standards of good conduct”. 

The only 'no brainer' when it comes to the bid for the 2023 Women's World Cup is that Australia is, once again, compromising its values by participating in a process using public money run by an organisation that, by any measure, fails to meet basic standards of governance and accountability. What will it take for us to stand-up for a better world football?

Categories: Opinion | Football Business

fifa the best awards, miguel maduro, joseph weiler, navi pillay, fifa reform

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