FIFA on Wednesday controversially announced that it was extending its deadline for voting for the 2013 Ballon d’Or to Nov. 29. The decision has been viewed by some as a ploy to favor Cristiano Ronaldo over other leading contenders like Lionel Messi, Franck Ribery and Zlatan Ibrahimovic, especially after the Real Madrid forward’s hat trick in Stockholm secured victory and World Cup qualification for Portugal against Sweden on Tuesday. The previous deadline had been Nov. 15, hours after the first games of the World Cup playoffs had finished. At that point, Bayern Munich’s Ribery was the favorite to take the award.
One journalist, Mundo Deportivo’s Francesc Aguilar has been outspoken in his criticism of FIFA for changing the voting deadline. "I have no words," Aguilar wrote in a series of tweets. "FIFA and France Football have extended the period of voting to Nov. 29, 2013. First the jury had to have voted by at least the 15th of this month. The second legs for Brazil 2014 were not included. That was just as unfair as this change is suspicious. Bit by bit FIFA are ruining the Ballon d'Or with the decisions which are taking place. You do not need to be a genius to see that this decision to extend the voting period for the FIFA Ballon d'Or benefits CR7."