Bayern Munich president Uli Hoeness has suggested Franck Ribery will not win the 2013 Ballon d'Or "because it does not suit one or two" people.
As reported by German newspaper Abendzeitung, via Stephen Uersfeld and Dermot Corrigan of ESPN FC, Hoeness hints a conspiracy may be working against the side who captured five major trophies during the last calendar year:
Essentially, I am of the opinion that Franck more than deserves it. There is no sportsperson who has performed more consistently for both FC Bayern and his national team.
That's why he more than deserves it. I, however, believe that some people have done things and that he won't win on Monday because it does not suit one or two people's plans that FC Bayern win everything.
Hoeness also claims FIFA's decision to extend the voting deadline—which was granted after Cristiano Ronaldo netted a superb hat-trick to secure Portugal's place at the 2014 World Cup, per Ed Malyon of the Mirror—will have cost his player the chance to capture his first Ballon d'Or prize, as noted in ESPN FC's report:
"Essentially, the deadline extension has determined that Franck will not win it," said Hoeness.
"We will look at every single vote that came in prior to Nov. 15 and at the votes that came in afterwards," Hoeness was quoted as saying during December 2013.
While Hoeness may feel aggrieved if Ribery isn't awarded the trophy, few would argue against Ronaldo's claim to this year's title.
The Portuguese star has outshone both Ribery and Lionel Messi across the last year if individual performances are to take on the most importance, as noted by Uber Football Facts:
Ronaldo has scored more league goals (69) than Messi & ribery combined (67).— Uber Football Facts (@UberFotbalFacts) January 13, 2014
Messi's recent spell on the injury table has weakened his credentials of claiming a fifth Ballon d'Or title, suggesting Ribery could finish second in the voting if he is to be eclipsed by Ronaldo.
Indeed, if the Frenchman happens to finish third, Hoeness' argument will have very little grounds to base itself on, as Messi has represented La Blaugrana just two times since the voting was extended.
FIFA officials will be keen to prove Hoeness' concerns wrong after various battles against corruption across the past few years.
President Sepp Blatter was forced to defend his position after reports accused Qatar of buying the 2022 World Cup, while more recently, FIFA has combated various occurrences of match-fixing within the game, per the organisation's official website.
With the 2013 Ballon d'Or winner to be announced on Jan. 13, FIFA may have another unsavoury situation to deal with, if Hoeness' claims are to be believed.