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26 Sep, 2019 11:40

Messi ‘vote-rigging’ row: FIFA rejects claims of false votes for Barcelona ace

Messi ‘vote-rigging’ row: FIFA rejects claims of false votes for Barcelona ace

Lionel Messi was named FIFA Best Men's Player this week but FIFA has since been forced to reject claims that some voters didn't cast their ballots for the Barcelona man despite being registered as having done so.

Messi beat Cristiano Ronaldo and Virgil van Dijk to the award at Monday's bash, though the Argentine's victory was met with surprise in some quarters after many analysts had predicted that Van Dijk's defensive dominance en route to Liverpool's Champions League victory would be enough to secure him the prize. Others noted Ronaldo's debut season at Juventus as placing him in serious consideration for the top prize. 

READ MORE: Yes, Ronaldo is a sore loser – but that has helped him become a footballing great

However, Messi's win has been thrown into controversy after a number of voters claimed that their selections were misrepresented. 

The Egyptian football association claim that they sent in their votes four days before the August 19 deadline but have said that the choices of coach Shawki Ghareeb and captain Ahmed Elmohamady, who put Salah first, were not recorded.

They are not mentioned within FIFA's list of of the official votes and have asked football's governing body for clarification as to the reasons for this.

Also on rt.com Egypt FA ‘demands answers from FIFA’ over ‘missing’ Mo Salah player of the year votes

FIFA responded on Thursday by stating that Egypt had not submitted the forms correctly, meaning two of the federation's three votes were void.

READ MORE: FIFA clears up why Salah votes not counted for best player award amid Messi scandal

Elsewhere, Nicaragua captain Juan Barrera has claimed that the selections registered from him were incorrect as he had not even voted.

Barerra has reportedly said: "I did not vote for MessiI was surprised to be on the list of captains who voted for Messi and there is no explanation how it appeared there."

FIFA has hit back at the claims, providing what it says is evidence of Barrera's vote, which shows he selected Messi as his first preference.

There were also claims that Sudan manager Zdravko Logarusic had voted for Mo Salah, Sadio Mane and Kylian Mbappe, while the official tally shows that his votes went to Messi, Van Dijk and Mane.    

Photos doing the rounds on social media purported to show Logarusic's votes - although it has since been claimed that the images were doctored.

FIFA said it had rechecked the votes submitted by Sudan's representatives, and that they corresponded to what the organization had officially registered in its lists.

Each FIFA nation is given three votes: one from the national team coach, one from its captain and another from a media member associated with the country. 

Editor's note: This story has been updated to include FIFA's rejection of the claims of irregularities in the voting.