Shakhtar received a ‘progressive’ ball in Barcelona
On May 7 the International Federation of Football History and Statistics (IFFHS) was giving away prizes. The meeting place for those, who count numbers and name winners, and for nominees themselves, became Barcelona. This city was chosen not only because it is a suitable place for discussing football topics. The thing is that the significant number of exclusive metal balls on the stands made of precious wood (that’s how IFFHS prizes look like) was intended for the Barcelona representatives. However, not only for them. The gala ceremony was attended by representatives from all continents.
This time IFFHS honoured the top players, coaches, referees and teams of 2011. Such events are held every year, but the main feature of this year’s event was awarding the best of the best of the first decade of the XXI century. It is clear that this is a unique occasion. In any case, to repeat this year’s success, those who were awarded this time, must showcase equally impressive performance in the next 10 years.
The whole event was magnificent. IFFHS met guests in a presentable hotel «W», located on the beautiful Mediterranean coast. Attributes of a prestigious ceremony, namely a red carpet, journalistic hype, tables (served with grace), were also present. National overtones regarding the cultural and musical accompaniment of the evening were provided by guitarists and Spanish ladies, who were passionately dancing flamenco. The main time was spent on inviting the winners to the stage, official speeches and lively communication between people who have an interested topic for conversation - football.
IFFHS President - H.H. Sheikh Mohammad Bin Saqer Al-Qassmi from United Arab Emirates - was cordially speaking about the role of football in the life of mankind, and statistics in the life of football. His assistants from Denmark, Spain, and from a dozen countries helped maintain a relaxed, but at the same time a festive atmosphere.
Then the time came for winners to take to the stage. Dr. Markus Merk received confirmation that he is the best referee of the first decade of the century. In the glow of spotlights Ruud van Nistelrooy was relaxed and cheerful. One of the prizes, intended for Inter Milan, was received by Mrs. Maria Moratti.
The vast geography of the participants was reflected in the award for the best Oceanian football club of the first decade of the XXI century. The prize went to the representative of New Zealand (FC Oakland). As for South America, it was represented by Boca Juniors. Barcelona was named the best team of Europe and the world.
A special place at this festival of football achievements was taken by Shakhtar Donetsk. Our club received the award which states that no other club has improved more significantly during the last ten years than Shakhtar. An honourable ball from the IFFHS representatives was received by FC Shakhtar CEO Sergei Palkin. Shakhtar’s brief video presentation gave the audience an opportunity to see our club’s bright moments, a packed Donbass Arena, and it should be noted, it looked very impressive.
Sergei Palkin said that this recognition of Shakhtar’s achievements gives us cause for pride, but our team is not going to rest on its laurels. Moreover, we intend to come to the IFFHS again, as there are still many prestigious nominations that are worth fighting for.
In addition to the glowing metal ball, Shakhtar was handed over an official document confirming that the Donetsk club has made the greatest progress in the world over the first decade of the century (the second and third places were taken by Spanish sides Villarreal and Sevilla respectively). These honourable trophies will be exhibits at FC Shakhtar Museum.