Feyenoord Chairman Jorien van den Herik has contacted UEFA Secretary Gerhard Aigner by email in an attempt to get to the bottom of the voting procedure for the European Trainer of the Year. Bert van Marwijk was edged out of the second round of voting by, among others, Sir Alex Ferguson, who happens to be a member of the nominating committee. ‘What is the use of a vote if the result is binned anyway?’

Van den Herik expressed his surprise at the decision to overlook Van Marwijk for the Monaco Gala, even though the Feyenoord man harvested a much larger number of votes than any other candidate in UEFA’s own Internet ballot. ‘I am now confronted with the statement that Ferguson was given the opportunity to nominate himself. That’s why I have emailed Gerhard Aigner for clarification. Should he be unable to furnish a pertinent explanation, then Feyenoord will certainly protest about the way things have been handled.’ An official UEFA spokesperson confirmed that Ferguson is a member of the technical study group, the team of experts responsible for nominating candidates for the best players and coach of the year. That means the Manchester United man could conceivably have voted for himself. ‘It surely cannot be so that Ferguson, a man who did not win a single prize last season, will be on the podium in Monaco shortly for the wrong reasons? UEFA should have intervened here, if only to prevent the appearance of a conflict of interest. The slogan I always hear at official UEFA dinners is “Fair Play.” This would appear to be the opposite,’ said Van den Herik.

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Feyenoord Business CLub