World-Cup winner Megan Rapinoe blasted FIFA on Monday after the organization included Venezuelan Deyna Castellanos, who does not play in a professional league, in its female player of the year shortlist.
"The award just doesn't hold a lot of weight when you've got someone on the list I've never heard of," Rapinoe told BBC. "It signals to us and it signals to the rest of the world that FIFA doesn't really care."
Castellanos, 18, has scored 14 goals in 15 games for the Florida State University team, but has not played professionally and has only appeared internationally on Venezuela's U-17 team.
Rapinoe, who has 127 caps and won the 2012 Olympic gold medal and the 2015 World Cup, said the inclusion of Castellanos was patronizing to women's soccer and maintained that football's world governing body should have stepped in, accusing FIFA of being "old, male and stale."
"If some random male player, who was not even a full professional, was nominated, I'm sure they would step in for that, so it's disappointing the same hasn't been done for us," she told BBC Sport.
In a statement to BBC, FIFA said the award was shortlisted with input from national team coaches, national team captains, media representatives and fans.
"The process is clear and transparent and we are not involved in the final selection of nominees," the statement read. "However, we have taken note of the concerns raised by the football community and our fans and will take this feedback on board in the future editions of The Best Awards."
Along with Castellanos, U.S. midfielder Carli Lloyd and Dutch forward Lieke Martens are also nominated for the award, which will be announced at the London Palladium on Monday.
Australia forward Sam Kerr, who was snubbed from the list despite setting the single-season goal record in the National Women's Soccer League, joined Rapinoe in criticism of FIFA last month, saying she was "not surprised, really; it's FIFA."
Rapinoe, a forward for the Seattle Reign, has always been outspoken. Last year, she became the first white athlete to kneel for the U.S. national anthem to protest racial injustice.