With France Football magazine ending its six-year association with Fifa, the rules for the Ballon d’Or award will change this year.
France Football’s Ballon d’Or award has been combined with Fifa’s World Player of the Year award since 2010 as the Fifa Ballon d’Or with Argentina’s Lionel Messi and Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo the only winners with 4 awards and 2 awards respectively. Now, they will now revert back to two separate stand-alone awards.
France Football announces that the voting for the award, will be done by a select group of journalists, which leaves out the input of national team coaches and captains. They also confirmed that the shortlist of finalists, will increase from 23 to 30 players. In addition, there will be no more three-man finalist, before presenting the prize – a move that will give players other than Messi and Ronaldo a chance to win the award, with the likes of Antoine Griezmann, Luis Suarez and Gareth Bale having particularly impressive years.
The date of the announcement has also been changed from January, with the winner to be revealed before the end of the calender year.
Before the partnership with Fifa, the Ballon d’Or was awarded to the best European player from 1956 to 1994 and the best player to play for a European club between 1995 and 2009.