The votes have now been counted... 2004 FIFA World Player award winners Birgit Prinz and Ronaldinho re appear in this year's top three in the men's and women's polls. But can they retain their titles? All will be revealed on 19 December at the 15th FIFA World Player Gala.  Marta, who finished third in the women's vote last year, returns to Zurich for the second year in succession. The remaining three contenders for the 2005 crowns are all newcomers though: the USA's Shannon Boxx, Cameroon's Samuel Eto'o and England's Frank Lampard.

To determine the award winners, the coaches and captains of men's and women's national teams worldwide were invited to cast their votes based on a list of candidates drawn up by FIFA.

This year's FIFA World Player Gala, which like the 2004 event will be held at the Zurich Opera House, will celebrate the meeting of football and dance. The artistic programme has been conceived by the Zurich Opera House, which has been directed by Alexander Pereira since 1991. The Zurich ballet company, directed by Basle choreographer Heinz Spoerli for almost a decade will perform at the Gala with musical accompaniment from the Opera House's own orchestra, conducted by Franz Welser-Möst.

During proceedings on 19 December, world football's governing body will furthermore present the FIFA Presidential Award and the FIFA Fair Play Award for 2005. The FIFA Interactive World Player 2005 - the winner of the second FIFA Interactive World Cup, which will reach its conclusion in London on the eve of the Gala - will also be honoured.

For more information on the FIFA World Player Gala - and a full list of awards - please visit FIFA.com ( http://www.fifa.com/infoplus/IP-590_01F_allawards.pdf ).

Note to Editors:
Media representatives wishing to report on the FIFA World Player Gala 2005 should apply for accreditation by completing the form published in the Media section of FIFA.com. By way of exception, today's deadline for applications has been extended until Friday, 2 December (17:00 CET).