FIFA explains why Egypt’s votes for Salah did not count

<p>
              Liverpool's Mohamed Salah, left, and Chelsea's Jorginho compete for the ball during the British premier League soccer match between Chelsea and Liverpool, at the Stamford Bridge Stadium, London, Sunday, Sept. 22, 2019. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)
            </p>

ZURICH (AP) — FIFA has explained why votes from Egypt for national star Mohamed Salah did not count in its Best Player ballot where the Liverpool forward placed fourth.

The Egypt soccer federation questioned why ballot papers on behalf of its national team coach and captain were not included in a FIFA document published after Monday’s ceremony. Lionel Messi won for a sixth time.

Signatures on Egypt’s ballots “were in capital letters and thus seemed not valid (not authentic),” FIFA said Thursday in a statement

FIFA added that “voting forms were also not signed by the (federation) general secretary which is mandatory.”

FIFA noted its voting office is monitored by independent auditors, and confirmed Egypt was first contacted for confirmation of the ballots then “received two reminders to submit the properly signed voting forms on Aug. 19.”

The Egyptian federation was in turmoil in July and August after its leadership resigned due to the national team’s Round of 16 exit at the African Cup of Nations it hosted.

Later in August, FIFA sent an emergency management team to run the Egypt federation.

With other questions about the integrity of some votes, FIFA said it had also cross-checked ballot papers submitted by Nicaragua and Sudan and they were “signed and confirmed with the official stamp” of the soccer federations. The votes submitted were also correctly stated on the FIFA document collating voting preferences.