BRUSSELS Fans from across the globe rather than FIFA officials will determine the man-of-the-match awards at this year's World Cup in South Africa.
The technical study group of world soccer's governing body have until now selected the best player from each game, but for the first time it will be left to online and mobile text voting.
The innovation is part of a digital media push unveiled on Friday by World Cup sponsor Anheuser-Busch InBev, the world's larger beer company and brewer of Budweiser, whose name is attached to the man-of-the-match awards.
Through promotions, fans will be chosen to present the trophies to players at the 64 matches.
The brewing group are also behind "Bud House," a Big Brother style show bringing 32 fans from each of the qualifying nations under one roof in Cape Town.
At the start of the tournament, the 16 female and 16 male participants will sleep in rooms based on the World Cup group phase pools. The two fans of the finalists will get tickets for the match.
Organizers expect up to 450,000 foreign fans in South Africa for the month-long tournament which starts on June 11, while tens of thousands of local supporters are expected to watch games at fan parks across the country.
(Reporting by Philip Blenkinsop; Editing by Ed Osmond)