As the clock ticks down, the excitement is mounting. The world’s best football players and coaches will be recognised on 11 January 2016 at the annual FIFA Ballon d’Or Gala. While Zurich’s sparkling Kongresshaus can entertain only a limited number of attendees, the awards themselves reflect the voice of the football family.

The three nominees for the FIFA Ballon d’Or were determined after a voting process open to the captains and head coaches from the men’s national teams of 207 FIFA member associations* as well as international media representatives. This process was replicated to select the three final FIFA Women’s World Player of the Year contenders with the help of the women’s national team captains and coaches and representatives from the media, as well as for the FIFA World Coach of Year for Men’s Football and Women’s Football.

Meanwhile, the prestigious FIFA Puskás Award, which determines the best goal scored between 27 September 2014 and 23 September 2015, is exclusively based on votes by the public. The three final nominees were chosen by users of FIFA.com and francefootball.fr from an initial list of ten candidates. Football fans around the world can now select their favourite from the top three on FIFA.com or francefootball.fr. Who will follow in the footsteps of James Rodriguez whose stunning volley for Colombia earned him the crown last time around?

Who gets to vote for all these awards?
Voting for the four players’ and coaches’ awards is open to national team coaches and captains together with journalists around the world named on a list compiled by France Football and FIFA, whose votes are then counted by an electronic system monitored by a notary public. The coaches, captains and media that vote for the award select their first, second and third choice for each particular accolade with five, three and one points assigned respectively. Each award is given to the person who receives the highest weighted percentage of votes in relation to the other nominees. In the event of a tie, the player or coach with the greatest number of first-choice votes receives the prize. The deadline for voting was 20 November 2015.

The percentages of the collected votes are as follows (number of votes/number of associations):
Voting for men’s awards: 165
Member associations (captains & coaches):  79.71%
Media representatives: 88.60%

Voting for women’s awards: 136
Member associations (captains & coaches): 76.83%
Media representatives: 80.92%

What steps are taken to protect the integrity of the voting results and ensure compliance with the allocation rules?

FIFA and France Football have appointed PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC Switzerland) as independent observers to supervise and monitor the voting process. PwC records the results and keeps them under lock and key until the evening of the FIFA Ballon d’Or Gala.

How does voting for the FIFA Puskás Award work?
The winner of the FIFA Puskás Award is selected by the users of FIFA.com and Francefootball.fr, who choose their favourite goal from an initial shortlist of ten contenders. The three goals receiving the most votes then go forward to the final round, when the votes of the users of both sites are added to those obtained by each goal in the first round to decide the overall winner.

And how is the FIFA FIFPro World XI selected?
Every FIFPro-affiliated player is free to vote for any active professional player in the world to make up their ideal XI in a 4-3-3 formation. FIFPro then counts the votes, with the FIFA FIFPro World XI finally being revealed on the evening of the FIFA Ballon d’Or Gala. Almost 25,000 votes from 70 different countries have been received.

*There are 209 FIFA member associations, however Kuwait and Indonesia are currently suspended