FIFA have released their annual BEST awards shortlist and, as usual, there is controversy as fans and journos wonder why they’ve been selected.

BOREHAMWOOD, ENGLAND - MAY 11: Joe Montemurro manager / head coach of Arsenal celebrates with the trophy after the WSL match between Arsenal Women and Manchester City at Meadow Park on May 11, 2019 in Borehamwood, England. (Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)
BOREHAMWOOD, ENGLAND – MAY 11: Joe Montemurro manager / head coach of Arsenal celebrates with the trophy after the WSL match between Arsenal Women and Manchester City at Meadow Park on May 11, 2019 in Borehamwood, England. (Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)

As it was a successful season for the Arsenal Women’s team, it is not a huge surprise to see our manager and one of our players being nominated amongst the best.

I certainly do not expect them to win as competition is really high this season, but we can certainly hope for them to be one of the three finalists.

The Best FIFA Football Awards™ ceremony will take place at the Teatro alla Scala in Milan on 23 September 2019.

A panel of experts named the 10 candidates for each category. Those experts are: Rae Dower (Australia), Nadine Kessler (Germany), Kristine Lilly (USA), Portia Modise (South Africa), Aline Pellegrino (Brazil), Aya Miyama (Japan), Thuba Sibanda (Zimbabwe), Kelly Smith (England), Rhian Wilkinson (Canada),Kirsty Yallop (New Zealand).

The Best FIFA Women’s Player*:

  • Lucy Bronze (England/Olympique Lyonnais)
  • Julie Ertz (USA/Chicago Red Stars)
  • Caroline Graham Hansen (Norway/Wolfsburg/Barcelona)
  • Ada Hegerberg (Norway/Olympique Lyonnais)
  • Amandine Henry (France/Olympique Lyonnais)
  • Sam Kerr (Australia/Chicago Red Stars/Perth Glory)
  • Rose Lavelle (USA/Washington Spirit)
  • Vivianne Miedema (Netherlands/Arsenal)
  • Alex Morgan (USA/Orlando Pride)
  • Megan Rapinoe (USA/Reign FC)
  • Wendie Renard (France/Olympique Lyonnais)
  • Ellen White (England/Birmingham City/Manchester City)

* The shortlist comprises 12 names since, per article 5 of the Rules of Allocation, in the event of a tie, “the shortlist may be expanded to include all nominees receiving the same number of votes as the nominee in the last position.”

In my opinion, one of the USA players will win the award as they won the most important trophy of the year. The problem with those awards is having to choose between club and international results. What weight do you assign to those events?

For example, Ada Hegerberg did the treble with Lyon and scored a hat-trick in the Champions League final, but did not take part in the FIFA Women’s World Cup as she is boycotting her national team.

On the other side, you have all the World Cup winners who have not done as much in terms of club football during the last season like Rapinoe, Morgan, and Lavelle.

Sam Kerr has been scoring goals for club and country, but Australia failed at the World Cup, so she should not be close to the trophy in my opinion.

Vivianne Miedema has a good case with excellent results for club and country, but did not win the World Cup. So I can’t see her getting the trophy ahead of Megan Rapinoe, even though the American, as noted, didn’t do as well as Miedema domestically.

The Best FIFA Women’s Coach:

  • Milena Bertolini (Italy/Italy national team)
  • Jill Ellis (USA/USA national team)
  • Peter Gerhardsson (Sweden/Sweden national team)
  • Futoshi Ikeda (Japan/Japan U-20 national team)
  • Antonia “Toña” Is (Spain/Spain U/17 national team)
  • Joe Montemurro (Australia/Arsenal)
  • Phil Neville (England/England national team)
  • Reynald Pedros (France/Olympique Lyonnais)
  • Paul Riley (England/North Carolina Courage)
  • Sarina Wiegman (Netherlands/Netherlands national team)

On the coaching side, you have a lot of winners nominated: The FIFA Women’s World Cup winner, the FIFA u-20 Women’s World Ccup winner, the FA WSL winner, the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup winner, and a treble winner that included the Champions league, while the NWSL winner is there as well.

There are only three coaches with no winners’ medals and two of them have medals from the World Cup.

The holder, Reynald Pedros, did the treble this year, League, Cup and Champions League but was also dismissed at the end of the season. I can see him in the top three.

Logic says the World Cup winner should take the award, especially after retaining the World Cup in such a fashion.

So, no need to look further than Jill Ellis for your winner.

Reynald Pedros should make the top three and one of the youth World Cup winners should also be in the top three imo.

The voting rules are as follows: The winners of the four categories mentioned will be chosen by a process involving the game’s key stakeholders:

  • 25% of the result based on votes by captains of all national teams
  • 25% based on votes by head coaches of all national teams
  • 25% based on votes by a selected group of media representatives from around the world
  • 25% based on a public fan ballot on FIFA.com

The fan vote was key in Marta’s win last season, so let’s see if things will be the same this season if there is no clear winner from the other three panels.

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