Mrs Erzsébet Puskás, the widow of legendary Hungarian footballer Ferenc Puskás, who passed away in November 2006, and FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter announced the introduction of the FIFA Puskás Award during a press conference held at the Ferenc Puskás Football Academy in Felcsút (Hungary) on Tuesday, 20 October.
The FIFA Puskás Award, created in honour and in memory of Ferenc Puskás, the captain and star of the Hungarian national team during the 1950s, will be inaugurated in December during the 2009 FIFA World Player Gala and presented to the player - man or woman - who has scored the "most beautiful goal" during the past year.
"It is important to preserve the memory of those footballing greats who have left their mark on our history. Ferenc Puskás was not only a player with immense talent who won many honours, but also a remarkable man. FIFA is therefore delighted to pay tribute to him by dedicating this award to his memory," said the FIFA President during the inauguration ceremony.
Mrs Puskás added: "It is truly an indescribable honour that FIFA, which in the area of our youth is already one of the world's most prestigious organisations, names such an important award after Ferenc Puskás. I thank you in the name of ‘Öcsi' and on behalf of all those who admired Ferenc Puskás' ability and personality and who appreciated and respected my husband around the whole world. In particular I would like to welcome here our old friend, Mr Sepp Blatter, who has done so much to create this award. I am very grateful to the Puskás Academy and the Hungarian Football Association, which assisted in the creation of the Puskás Award. I trust that the men and women who will win the FIFA Puskás Award in the future will be appreciative and that football supporters will also be proud of them."
The winner of the FIFA Puskás Award will be selected via FIFA.com in the last two weeks of November. Videos of the ten most beautiful goals of the year, as chosen by FIFA's Football Committee, will be posted on the website and the final decision on the winner will be the result of an online poll.
The name of the player who has scored the "most beautiful goal of the year" will be announced at the FIFA World Player Gala on 21 December 2009. The player in question will receive the FIFA Puskás Award trophy engraved with his or her name.
The criteria for selecting the goal of the year are as follows:
It should be a beautiful goal (subjective - the spread of goals should include long-range shots, team goals, overhead kicks, etc.).
The importance of the match should be taken into account (objective - limited to "A" international teams, confederation championships and national top-division club matches: the more important the goal, the better).
The goal should not be the result of luck or mistakes by the other team.
The goal should support fair play, i.e. the player should not have behaved badly in the game or have been charged with doping, for example.
Only goals scored from July 2008 to July 2009 will be considered.
For a complete biography of Ferenc Puskás, please click on the link to the right.