We still need to talk about The Best FIFA Women's Player Award

We still need to talk about The Best FIFA Women’s Player Award

A year has not yet passed, since the last The Best FIFA Football Awards, when I wrote about my huge surprise to not see Ada Hegerberg, UEFA Women’s Player of the Year for the 2015/16 season, included in the ten original nominees.

Then, to watch Carli Lloyd, who is a great player and that I admire deeply, to win the award over the Bayern Munich player, Melanie Behringer, and now, eight months later, we still need to talk about the lack of representatives among nominees of The Best FIFA Football Awards in terms to reward the best players for their respective achievements during the year.

Initially, I was stunned with the shortlist created by a panel of women’s football experts that have nominees ten players for The Best FIFA Women’s Player 2017 award.

The presence of Carli Lloyd and Deyna Castellanos are very questionable for me. Lloyd, the only American on the shortlist released, didn’t have a great year. Already, the 18-year-old, Deyna Castellanos, is a promising player on the rise in women’s football, but who still needs to play for a major club in a professional league and contest a major tournament with her senior women’s national team. Castellanos is currently playing in UWS, a second-division pro-am women’s football league in the United States. Both are undeniably great players who are in different stages of their career, Lloyd is one of the best in the game and Castellanos is the main promise of women’s football and both deserves recognition for their talent. However, in my opinion, Lloyd nomination is still a reflex of her stunning performance in the Women’s World Cup 2015 and Deyna’s choice was hasty.

I was even more surprised when The Best final nominees were revealed. In the final three, the only expected name, that was not a shock for me was of the Dutch star Lieke Martens since she has been named UEFA Women’s Player of the Year for the 2016/17 season.

Other names that were super-quoted were of Pernille Harder, the 2015 and 2016 Danish women’s player of the year who helped recently Wolfsburg to win another Frauen-Bundesliga title, as well as the German Cup and led Denmark to their first major final, at UEFA Women’s EURO 2017, and of the Matildas striker Sam Kerr, who recently has starred for club and country and became the all-time leading goalscorer in NWSL netting 16 goals. However, both were overlooked in favour of Carli Lloyd and Venezuelan prodigy Deyna Castellanos, names that in my opinion should not even be considered this year among the shortlist.

The list with the final contenders had a very bad repercussion among the players who expressed their discontent in social networks throughout the day and among women’s football fans. The winner will be revealed at the ceremony in London on 23 October.

Another name as a winner other than of Lieke Martens will be more outrageous than the final list revealed and will only reinforce the idea that the allocation rules for The Best FIFA Player of the year needs to be reviewed, at least in women’s football, in order to avoid possible selection bias, mainly due the lack of access to information and matches (whether domestic leagues or official tournaments) in comparison to men’s football, which influences the choice of coaches, journalists, players, fans and even of the experts, who has difficulty accompanying the various leagues and women’s football tournaments, which ultimately influences the voting process.


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