The 14th FIFA World Player Gala in co-operation with FIFPro will be held at the Zurich Opera House on 20 December 2004. As the ceremony rounding off twelve months of FIFA Centennial festivities, this Gala will have a very distinctive flavour. The majestic backdrop of the Zurich Opera House will imbue the special occasion with a unique tone.
But its singularity will not be limited to the elements of time and place. The voting procedure for this year’s player awards has also been revised. In future, the vote will be conducted on the basis of lists drawn up by international football experts. Twenty-one female players have thus been nominated by the Committee for Women’s Football and FIFA Women’s Competitions as well as by specialist members of other FIFA committees whereas a list of thirty-five male players has been drawn up by the Football Committee and the Technical and Development Committee (cf. attached lists).
Moreover, the panel of voters has been increased. From now on, the male and female captains of every national team in the world will have a say in the choice in addition to their coaches and, in the case of male nominations, the worldwide representative organisation for professional footballers, FIFPro, as well. In the men’s category, the associations’ vote - coaches and captains together - will count for 80% of the final vote whereas FIFPro will count for 20%.
There will be several stages in the lead-up to the climax in Zurich. In early October, the above-mentioned lists will be sent to those eligible to vote and the latter will have a month in which to make their choice. The shortlists of the three top candidates in the men’s and women’s categories will be announced in November and the trophies awarded to the winners at the Gala on 20 December.
During the ceremony, FIFA will be presenting other distinctions: the FIFA Fair Play Award, the FIFA Presidential Award and a newly created trophy to the winner of the first FIFA Interactive World Cup, the final of which will be held at FIFA headquarters on 19 December 2004.