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Euro 2020 Champions, Italy’s Men National Team, have been voted the AIPS Best Team of the Year 2021, while the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games have scooped the AIPS Best Press Facilities – the unique award which makes a return after it was left out last year due to the postponement and cancellation of many sporting events.

This is the result of the poll by the International Sports Press Association (AIPS), where a panel of 529 journalists from 114 countries voted for the Champions of 2021.

Italy’s Men National Team dominated the Best Team poll with a total of 767 points, followed by the German Bundesliga champions, Bayern Munich Men’s Football Club, with 503 points, and Copa America champions Argentina Men’s National Football Team in third place with 459points.

Tokyo 2020 amassed a total of 1453 points in the poll for the Best Press Facilities, followed by UEFA Euro 2020 with 899 and Tour De France with 462 in third.

BEST TEAM OF 2021

Italy’s Men’s National Football Team stood out this year in the international football scene, thanks to an astonishing unbeaten run that led to UEFA Euro 2020 glory.

The Italian team began their Euro 2020 campaign in the best possible way by collecting 9 points out of 9 with 7 goals scored and none conceded in three group matches. The Roberto Mancini-led side defeated Austria in the round of 16, Belgium in the quarter-finals and Spain in a spectacular semi-final match decided on penalties to book a place in the final against England at the Wembley Stadium, London, on July 7. And there Italy has crowned Champions of Europe after beating the Three Lions 3-2 on penalties to end their 53-year wait.

The Euro 2020 title was the climax of a journey that started after Mancini took over in 2018 when the Azzurri were at a low; from not participating in the FIFA World Cup in 2018 to the top of European football. They headed into the Euros on a 27-match unbeaten run and set a new world record for the longest undefeated streak in international matches with a 5-0 World Cup qualifying win against Lithuania on September 8. Algeria now holds that record but Italy’s remarkable 2021 cannot be undermined. The Italian team won 14 matches out of 18 played in 2021, scoring 45 goals.

AIPS Best Teams of 2021

1. Italy Men’s National Football Team – 767 Votes

2. Bayern Munich Men’s Football Club – 503 votes

3. Argentina Men’s National Football Team – 459 votes

4. Chelsea Football Team – 370 votes

5. Liverpool Football Club – 257 votes

6. USA Men’s National Basketball Team – 228 votes

7. Barcelona Women’s Football Team – 216 votes

8. Brazil Men’s Olympic Football Team – 205 votes

9. France Men’s Handball National Team – 187 votes

10. Milwaukee Bucks – 164 votes

11. France Judo Team – 140 votes

12. France Men’s Volleyball Team – 136 votes

13. Switzerland Alpine Ski Team – 134 votes

14. Real Madrid Football Club – 125 votes

15. Russian NOC Men’s Artistic Gymnastics Team – 121 votes

16. Atlanta Braves – 92 votes

17. Australia Men’s Cricket Team – 81 votes

18. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – 81 votes

19. South Africa Rugby 15s Team – 75 votes

20. Germany Women’s Track Cycling Team – 70 votes

21. Croatia Men’s Coxless Pair – Martin and Valent Sinkovic – 68 votes

22. Germany Men’s Bobsleigh Team – 58 votes

23. New Zealand Women’s Rugby 7s Team – 50 votes

24. Germany Equestrian Dressage Team – 41 votes

25. South Korea Women’s Archery Team – 41 votes

26. Croatia Men’s Coxless Pair – 33 votes

27. New Zealand Men’s Rowing Eight Team – 30 votes

28. Germany Men’s Kayak Four Team – 29 votes

BEST PRESS FACILITIES OF 2021

The press facilities of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games, held in the summer of 2021, were crowned the best of 2021 by members of the international media, while those of the UEFA Euro 2020, also held in 2021 in 11 cities across Europe, settled for second place.

Despite deafening calls to cancel the Games amid COVID concerns, Tokyo 2020 organisers forged ahead with their plans for a “safe and secure” event, which in the end proved to be a ray of sunshine, even for the press.

Although the anti-COVID measures announced before the Games triggered concerns over press freedom, those fears dissipated in Tokyo, with organisers providing innovative solutions to protect access to the athletes and ensure the press could cover every aspect of the Games despite restricted movements.

With the use of public transport prohibited in the first 14 days after arrival in Japan, Tokyo 2020 organisers made 14 taxi vouchers available for each media representative to use in that period of “soft” quarantine, in addition to the usual transport service. The media shuttles, hotels, all the press areas in the competition venues as well as the Main Press Centre (MPC)were all equipped with good internet connectivity.

Accredited journalists who could not travel to Japan had access to the Olympic Information Service (OIS), which for the first time live-streamed the press conferences of medallists and, as usual, provided all Olympic-related information, from results to interviews, to accredited media.

The Advanced Booking System for daily access to competition venues was a thorn in the flesh, but by the end of the unique Games, the Tokyo 2020 media operations team were hailed for being able to prepare adequate conditions for the press in such difficult circumstances.

AIPS Best Press Facilities of 2021

1. Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games – 1453 votes

2. UEFA Euro 2020 – 899 votes

3. Tour De France 2021 – 462 votes

4. World Judo Championships Seniors 2021 – 384 votes

5. FIS Alpine World Ski Championships 2021 – 317 votes

6. FIFA Futsal World Cup Lithuania 2021 – 268 votes

7. European Athletics Team Championships 2021 – 244 votes

8. AIBA World Boxing Championships 2021 – 185 votes

9. World Athletics U20 Championships 2021 – 143 votes

10. IHF Men’s World Championships 2021 – 130 votes

11. UCI Road World Championships 2021 – 115 votes

12. World Artistic Gymnastics Championships 2021 – 97 votes

13. World Sambo Championships 2021 – 64 votes

AIPS members from the following nations participated in the Best of 2021 poll:
Afghanistan, Albania, Algeria, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Belgium, Benin, Bolivia, Bosnia Herzegovina, Brazil, Bulgaria, Burundi, Cameroon, Canada, Chile, China, Chinese Taipei, Colombia, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cuba, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Dominican Republic, Dr Congo, Ecuador, Egypt, Estonia, Ethiopia, Finland, France, Gabon, Gambia, Georgia, Germany, Ghana, Great Britain, Greece, Guatemala, Guinea, Hong Kong, Hungary, India, Iran, Iraq, Ireland, Italy, Ivory Coast, Jamaica, Japan, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kosovo, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Mali, Malta, Mauritania, Mexico, Moldova, Mongolia, Montenegro, Morocco, Nepal, Netherlands, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Northern Macedonia, Norway, Pakistan, Palestine, Paraguay, Peru, Poland, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Qatar, Republic Of Korea, Romania, Russia, Rwanda, San Marino, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Serbia, Sierra Leone, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Somalia, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Suriname, Sweden, Switzerland, Syria, Tanzania, Togo, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Turkey, Uganda, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, Uruguay, USA, Venezuela, Yemen.

Source: AIPS Media

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