UEFA have announced that they will join forces with the group responsible for the coveted Ballon d’Or awards to co-organise the ceremony of one of the sport’s most prestigious individual honours.
French publisher Groupe Amaury, owner of the France Football magazine responsible for presenting the Ballon d’Or, along with the renowned newspaper L’Equipe, has inked a groundbreaking agreement with UEFA.
The partnership will see the European football governing body ‘contribute its football expertise, market the global commercial rights and organise the annual awards gala’.
The historic accolade presented annually to the best footballer on the planet since 1956, with a brief hiatus during the COVID-19-impacted year of 2020, celebrated Lionel Messi’s record eighth triumph earlier this week.
While UEFA will assume a prominent role in enhancing the award’s prestige, it will not influence the voting system that determines the winner.
The voting process remains unaltered, with each country’s international team captain, manager and media representative nominating their top three players of the year.
This transparent and internationally inclusive approach ensures that the award continues to reflect a consensus among football professionals from around the world.
“Together, UEFA and Groupe Amaury aim to enhance the stature and global reach of the awards while fostering a sense of unity and collaboration within the football community,” UEFA said in their statement.
The partnership between UEFA and the Ballon d’Or group brings with it the introduction of two brand-new awards, recognising excellence in the coaching category for both men and women.
Alongside the Ballon d’Or Feminin, dedicated to celebrating the finest female players, the Kopa Trophy for the best under-21 talent, the Yashin Trophy for exceptional goalkeepers, and the Gerd Muller Trophy for the top goalscorer will continue to be awarded.
However, there remains an uncertainty regarding whether the latter three awards will extend to the women’s game – a subject which has received strong criticism in the past.
This alliance between UEFA and the Ballon d’Or group raises questions about the future of FIFA’s The Best awards, which also honours the world’s top footballers and coaches annually.
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