Reports: No more FIFA Ballon d'Or as FIFA and France Football magazine split
The arrangement to organise the FIFA Ballon d’Or by Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) and L'Équipe together has not been renewed, according to reports in AS.
Football’s most prestigious individual award that was presented to the best footballer in the world every year, the FIFA Ballon d’Or, was created by the union of the FIFA World Player of the Year award and France Football's Ballon d'Or award in 2010.
The contract previously signed by the two associations has expired with neither organisation interested in extending the agreement as new FIFA President, Gianni Infantino, doesn’t see any benefit with the association.
In 2010, FIFA President Joseph Blatter paid €15 million for the rights to the trophy. However, with the appointment of Gianni Infantino as the new FIFA President, the relationship between the two organisations weakened eventually leading to a definitive break down.
The FIFA World Player of the year, introduced in 1991, was awarded until 2009 with the winner decided by votes from national team coaches and captains from all of the association members.
The Ballon d’Or was first introduced in 1956 – around the same time that the European Cup (now known as the Champions League) came into existence. Until 2009, it rewarded players based on their performances in the previous 12 months rather than reputation or politics.
While Cristiano Ronaldo is the front-runner in the race to win the award this year, 5-time winner Lionel Messi is also amongst the favourites.
This split means that the Ballon d’Or will once again be controlled by the French publication, and voting will be reserved exclusively for journalists in Europe, thereby returning to its initial format. FIFA has yet to decide whether it wants to revive its annual award, which has remained defunct since 2009.
If they do, football fans across the globe will now have two award galas to look forward to. However, hypothetically speaking, if Ronaldo went on to win the FIFA World Player of the year and Messi won the Ballon d’Or, fans will have to decide which award would have more credibility.
The revival of Ballon d’Or, which was the slightly more alternate award, would certainly make the football fans happy. Isn’t it a little more exciting to see a Neymar Jr or an Antoinne Griezmann win the trophy for the first time instead of witnessing a Ronaldo or a Messi lifting it for the ‘nth time?