Tuesday, December 21, 2004

World Soccer Body Celebrates Centenary in Style

FIFA, the governing body of world soccer, celebrated its centenary in style last night with a glitzy, star-studded World Player Gala at the Zurich Opera House. While the headlines today are dominated by the award of FIFA World Player of the Year to the Brazilian player Ronaldinho, in fact the occasion included several noteworthy awards. FIFA's 'Football for Peace' initiative received a publicity boost with the award of two honours to the participants in the Brazil versus Haiti game. This match was played on August 18th in Port au Prince. In recognition of the social benefits that the event brought to the the troubled Caribbean island, Brazil and Haiti were award both the FIFA Fair Play Award and the FIFA Presidential Award.

Also announced at the Gala was the FIFA Interactive World Player Award 2004 which went to the winner of a four month worldwide gaming contest.

The highlight of the event was the announcements of the FIFA Women's World Player 2004, which went to German striker Birgit Prinz, and the FIFA World Player 2004 winner Ronaldinho. His award was decided by a poll of 157 international soccer coaches and, for the first time, 145 national team captains. This combination of an award bestowed by the industry's world governing body, and voted on by its leading practitioners, makes the FIFA World Player Award the most coveted personal award in soccer. For maintaining such a high profile, and highly respected industry award ... FIFA, we salute you!