The French magazine “France Football” revealed on Friday the introduction of reforms to the rules of the prestigious Golden Ball award, which is awarded annually to the best player and player, with reliance on the results of the football season 2021-2022 instead of the calendar year.
It has been customary to distribute the Golden Ball award at the end of the calendar year since its inception in 1956, but according to the new reforms, it will correspond to the football season that runs from August to July, and will now include a smaller jury and will adopt an accurate preliminary selection and clearer criteria, according to the new regulations that revealed “France Football” about it in its version, which will be published on Saturday.
France Football editor-in-chief Pascal Ferret said Friday during a presentation in Boulogne-Billancourt that it is an opportunity to give a new impetus. Previously the verdict was for best player and player based on half of two seasons, now it will be more readable.
The next awards ceremony will be held in September or October 2022, in order to determine who was the best during the season that began a year earlier, i.e. in the summer of 2021, taking into account in particular the men’s Champions League (final on May 28) and the European Cup for women’s teams. Between the 6th and the 31st of July.
These reforms come in line with the major modification that occurred in the football calendar by moving the date of the Men’s World Cup from summer to next November and December, in order to suit the climatic conditions of the host country.
It is certain that the next edition of the Golden Ball will not take into account the performance of the players in the World Cup Qatar 2022, but will be rewarded for their efforts in the 2023 edition.
France Football has made other notable changes, such as the inclusion of former Ivory Coast international star Didier Drogba in the committee responsible for selecting the shortlist of candidates, which includes the editorial staff of the magazine and the sports newspaper L’Equipe.
The decision was also taken to reduce the size of the jury, which still includes “one from each country” journalists, but to allow representatives of the top 100 countries in the world to participate in voting for the men’s award instead of the previous 170, and the 50 best ranked women.
France Football considered that this ensures that journalists with “experience” will vote.
The criteria for awarding the award were also defined: “individual performance” and “decisive and striking character of competitors” would be the first criterion, before “collective aspect and titles won” and “prestige and sportsmanship of the player”.
“It’s about avoiding confusion, and being clear and consistent: the Ballon d’Or is an individual distinction, based on individual performance,” Ferret said.
Thus, the player’s career will no longer be taken into account, in order to avoid making the Golden Ball an award based on the measurement of certain players who have an aura in this game, similar to the Argentine star Lionel Messi, who crowned it last year for the seventh time in his career, which sparked a wave of criticism. To some, his Polish runner-up Robert Lewandowski deserved it more than him.
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