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Mourinho thanks Pandev for backing

March 23, 2013
By ESPN staff

Real Madrid coach Jose Mourinho has thanked Macedonia captain Goran Pandev for his support over his allegations that FIFA's 2012 World Coach of the Year award was 'fixed.'

Goran Pandev with Jose Mourinho in 2010
GettyImagesGoran Pandev with Jose Mourinho in 2010

Pandev had said that his vote for Mourinho was mysteriously changed to favour another candidate, after Mourinho himself told Portuguese TV that a number of voters had told him their ballots had been tampered with and only "irregularities" in the vote resulted in a win for Spain boss Vicente Del Bosque.

FIFA has released a copy of Pandev's voting paper for the award, which appears to disprove the claims, however Mourinho told a press conference in Setubal that he was happy with the backing from the Macedonia captain.

"I would simply like to thank one of numerous others who phoned me to warn me (of vote rigging), because it's not easy," he said. "This person who had the honour and the strength to publicly assume when others requested anonymity.

FIFA is now considering taking action over Mourinho's comments.

The official FIFA vote shows Del Bosque won the 2012 award with 34.51% of the 505 cast by international coaches, captains and journalists, ahead of 20.49% for Mourinho, and 12.91% for former Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola.