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Mourinho could face FIFA action over voting claim

ESPN staff
March 22, 2013
Jose Mourinho stayed award from January's award ceremony © PA Photos

FIFA has released a copy of Goran Pandev's voting paper for the 2012 Coach of the Year award, which appears to disprove the Macedonia captain's backing of Jose Mourinho's claim of "irregularities" in the vote that saw Vicente Del Bosque win the prize.

Pandev had said his vote for Mourinho was mysteriously changed to favour another candidate, after Mourinho himself told Portuguese TV that a number of voters had told him their ballots had been tampered with.

FIFA said on Thursday the official vote submitted by the Macedonian FA did not tally with Pandev's claims, and on Friday morning released a copy of the document - published on the AS website - which appears to back its case.

The official Macedonia vote is apparently signed by Pandev, who played under Mourinho at Inter Milan, and shows that he chose Spain coach Del Bosque, Manchester City boss Roberto Mancini and Borussia Dortmund manager Jurgen Klopp respectively.

FIFA is now also considering taking action over Mourinho's comments. Guatemalan FA president Bryan Jimenez, a member of FIFA's Committee for Fair Play and Social Responsibility, told Spanish radio station Onda Cero that measures could be taken to protect FIFA's image.

"This person is talking about votes being changed," Jimenez said. "That seems an irresponsible act to me. We will evaluate his words, and determine if Mourinho really did make these declarations, how he expressed them. We will see what action we can take to protect FIFA's image."

Mourinho sparked the controversy by telling Portuguese TV station RTP that he had stayed away from January's awards ceremony in Zurich as he was upset at "irregularities" in the voting process.

"One, two or three people called me to tell me they had voted for me, but another person's name had appeared in their votes," Mourinho said. "[So] I decided not to go. I accuse FIFA of irregularities in the choice of the best coach in the world. There was a lack of transparency. FIFA knows about these irregularities, it knows they existed, and it did not avoid them."

Pandev then told Spanish TV station La Sexta on Wednesday that his vote had been changed, and he had spoken to Mourinho about it.

"I voted for Mourinho," Pandev said. "Always Mourinho. I do not know what happened. There were some very strange things. I told him I had voted for him, but I do not know what happened then. He was a bit sad. Strange things happened, but neither Mou nor I could do anything to change it. Who would I talk to in FIFA?"

The official FIFA vote shows Del Bosque won the 2012 award with 34.51% of the 505 cast by international coaches, captains and journalists, ahead of 20.49% for Mourinho, and 12.91% for former Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola.

These votes were made public after the winner was announced - a timeframe that also calls into question Mourinho's claim of having been told in advance that votes had been changed.

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