When the ballot closed recently, a total of 737 members of the Laureus World Sports Awards Selection Panel from 99 countries had cast their votes. The Selection Panel members were asked to name six candidates, ranked in order of preference and selected from any sport and any country around the world in five categories, over the qualifying period February 1, 2005 to February 28, 2006. The categories included: Laureus World Sportsman of the Year, Laureus World Sportswoman of the Year, Laureus World Team of the Year, Laureus World Newcomer of the Year & Laureus World Comeback of the Year.
In addition, there are two Specialist Panels who select nominees for the Laureus World Sportsperson of the Year with a Disability and the Laureus World Alternative Sportsperson of the Year.
Edwin Moses, Chairman of the Laureus World Sports Academy, said: "The support we receive from the Media Selection Panel is crucial. These are the most important and respected sports journalists around the world and we are immensely grateful that so many take part in our nomination process. The Laureus World Sports Awards are the only global awards across all sports and the success and the integrity of the Awards depends on the enthusiasm and commitment of these journalists."
Nominations were submitted and independently audited by PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, who had the responsibility of collating and verifying returned ballot forms.
The nominations from both the Media Selection Panel and the Specialist Panels are submitted to the Laureus World Sports Academy, a unique association of 42 of the greatest sportsmen and sportswomen of all time who have made an outstanding contribution to world sport over many years, who will vote to select the winners.
The names of the winners will be announced at the seventh annual Laureus World Sports Awards ceremony that is to be held in Barcelona, Spain on the evening of May 22, 2006.
Last year's Awards Ceremony, in the presence of His Majesty The King of Spain, was attended by members of the Laureus Academy and Hollywood stars Jackie Chan, Morgan Freeman, Teri Hatcher and Marcia Gay Harden. Among the award winners present were Roger Federer, Kelly Holmes and Greece football coach Otto Rehhagel.
IWC Brand Manager, Gianfranco D’Attis noted that every year Laureus presents the Laureus World Sports Awards to the best sportsmen and women from all over the globe and since 2005, IWC Schaffhausen has been one of the driving forces behind Laureus, an organization established in 1999.
“Between them, the 42 Academy members account for over 100 Olympic medals, 100 world championship titles and 200 world records,” remarked Mr. D’Attis. “Our commitment to Laureus represents a unique chance for the company, as a manufacturer of top-quality luxury watches, to further build on our close affinity to sports stars of the past and present,” he concluded.