England international David Beckham, Portugal's Luis Figo, and Raúl of Spain (listed in alphabetical order) lead the way among the players nominated for the title of "FIFA World Player of the Year 2001". This year, for the first time, the prestigious FIFA World Player award will be also made to women footballers. The leading candidates for the women's title, also in alphabetical order, are US stars Mia Hamm and Tiffany Milbrett, and Sun Wen of China.

130 national coaches submitted their votes for the men’s award, while 72 coaches nominated their top women players. Votes had to be cast by 31 October 2001, with voters selecting their top three male and top three female footballers of the year. Five points were awarded for a 1st place nomination, three points for a 2nd place, and one point for a 3rd. Coaches were not permitted to vote for players from their own national team.

The winners will be announced on Monday 17 December at the FIFA World Player Gala 2001, which will be staged at the TV Production Center (TPC), Fernsehstrasse 1-4, Zurich. The Gala, taking place from 16.00 to 17.15 CET, will be broadcast to television viewers across the world. Prior to the show, at 13.30, a press conference with the award winners will be held opposite the TPC at the World Trade Center Zurich.

The award will be made to a female footballer for the first time, while the men’s award will this year be presented for the eleventh time. Previous winners were Lothar Matthäus (Germany, 1991), Marco van Basten (Holland, 1992), Roberto Baggio (Italy, 1993), Romario (Brazil, 1994), George Weah (Liberia, 1995), Ronaldo (Brazil, 1996 and 1997), Zinedine Zidane (France, 1998 and 2000) and Rivaldo (Brazil, 1999).

The following awards will also be made at the ceremony:

  • Team of the Year and Best Mover of the Year according to the FIFA/Coca Cola World Ranking
  • Fair Play Award 2001 and Fair Play Diploma 2001
  • FIFA Presidential Award, a new decoration for a member of the worldwide football family personally adjudicated by the FIFA President.

Note to Editors:
Press and photographers interested in covering the FIFA World PlayerGala 2001 can now apply for accreditation. Broadcasters can usethe same form but will have to submit their accreditation application to therights holding agency, Prisma Sports (address indicated on form).
The event will be held on Monday 17 December 2001 at the TelevisionProduction Centre (tpc) in Zurich (Switzerland).