Andres Iniesta, Spain’s World Cup final goalscorer, is one of the frontrunners to win the award (Getty)

(WFI) Spain’s World Cup-winning squad are well represented on the shortlist for the first FIFA Ballon d’Or award. But the South African tournament’s high-profile failures – England, France and Italy – do not have any players on the 23-man list released today.

Seven Spain players including Andrés Iniesta, David Villa and Xavi are in contention for the award. The list also includes the Netherlands’ World Cup stars Arjen Robben and Wesley Sneijder as well as the Germany players who lit up the tournament, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Thomas Müller and Mesut Özil.

The new FIFA Ballon d’Or award is a combination of the FIFA World Player of the Year award and the France Football Ballon d’Or.

Ten female players are in the running for the FIFA Women’s World Player 2010. They include Marta of Brazil and Germany’s Birgit Prinz.

The winners, chosen by the captains and head coaches of the men’s and women’s national teams as well as by international media representatives selected by France Football, will be revealed at the first FIFA Ballon d’Or gala at the Zurich Kongresshaus on Jan. 10.

The FIFA World Coach of the Year for Men’s Football award and the FIFA World Coach of the Year for Women’s Football award will be presented for the first time at the event. Also to be announced will be the recipients of the FIFA Presidential Award and the FIFA Fair Play Award.

Portsmouth look to rebuild
New Portsmouth FC owner Balram Chainrai says he is focused on rebuilding the Premier League club and is not prepared to make any “rash promises”.

Portsmouth yesterday confirmed completion of the club’s sale to Chainrai, Levi Kushnir and Deepak Chainrai. A statement on the club’s website said it had received the Football League’s approval for the deal and had exited financial administration.

The news comes just days after the club was threatened with liquidation after a deal with former owner Sacha Gaydamark seemed to have broken down. The Russian businessman reversed his decision after agreeing a payment plan that will see him receive the £2.5m he is owed repaid over the next five years.

“We are very pleased to have finally completed the sale process. We look forward to working with the senior executive team and the football manager, and to be part of the rebuilding process of this historic club,” Chainrai said in a statement.

“We’re not going to make any rash promises – first of all, we need to stabilise and Levi and I will be taking time to get a closer understanding of the business so that we can ensure the club is taken forward in the right way.”

The transfer embargo on the club has now been lifted,

Portsmouth’s owner Balram Chainrai (Getty)

although all deals will remain subject to Football League approval. The club will also be required to provide monthly reports to the league as part of its ongoing monitoring of the club’s financial affairs.

Portsmouth CEO David Lampitt told the club’s website that it was a “huge relief” to exit administration, but warned that it would several years for the scars of its financial struggles to be healed.

“It is a significant moment for everyone involved in the club, and we are now in a position where we can look to move forward on a more stable financial footing. This has been an extremely tough journey and the legacy of past events at the club means we still have a long way to travel and a number of battles to fight,” he said.

Greg Clarke, chairman of the Football League, said Portsmouth’s exit from administration had brought to a close a difficult period in Portsmouth’s history but heralded “a fresh start for all connected with the club”.

“The Football League will now work with the club to encourage it to operate in a sustainable manner,” Clarke said.

“This includes increased financial reporting requirements and restrictions on player signings that will help the club live within its means going forward, as well as meeting the commitments made to the creditors of Portsmouth Football Club in accordance with the agreed CVA.”

AFC award for Malaysian PM
The Asian Football Confederation will present Malaysian Prime Minister Dato’ Seri Najib Tun Razak with the AFC Diamond next month.

The most prestigious award in Asian football is given to an individual for exemplary contribution towards the development and promotion of football on the continent.

“We [the AFC Executive Committee] felt that Asian football benefited in a great way with the help and support of Dato’ Seri Najib Tun Razak,” AFC president Mohamed Bin Hammam was quoted on

“Malaysia is the home of AFC since 1965 and he was instrumental in granting AFC a special status in this country. His contribution to develop the game in the continent and his determination to take Asian football to greater heights should be recognised by all the stakeholders of the game.”

The AFC awards take place at the Sunway Resort Hotel and Spa in Kuala Lumpur on Nov. 24.

By INSIDER’s Mark Bisson and James Corbett

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