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SPORTS UPDATE

Ballon d’Or award to undergo major changes

The Ballon d’Or award will go through a number of reforms ahead of the next ceremony, it was announced on Friday.

Paris Saint-Germain forward Lionel Messi received the award for a record-extending seventh time in November while Barcelona’s Alexia Putellas claimed the Ballon d’Or Feminin.

However, it was Messi’s victory that led to controversy after he picked up the award ahead of Bayern Munich’s Robert Lewandowski and Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah.

As a result, France Football’s editor-in-chief Pascal Ferre confirmed in L’Equipe that there will be four new changes for the award.

Firstly, the award period will fall in line with the main European season rather than entire calendar year. This year’s award will only take into account the performances of footballers during the 2021-22 campaign, which ends with the Women’s Euro 2022 tournament in the summer.

As a result, performances from the men’s 2022 World Cup in Qatar in November and December will only be taken into account for the 2023 award ceremony.

Secondly, as well as journalists involved in the voting, former Chelsea and Ivory Coast star Didier Drogba has been added to the process. Drogba will also be joined by Truong Anh Ngoc and Czech juror Karolina Hlavackova to compile a more structured list of nominees.

Thirdly, only the representatives of the first 100 countries in the FIFA rankings for the men’s award and the first 50 for the women’s will be permitted to vote.

Lastly, the criteria for deciding the winner have changed, as the award will not only consider a player’s individual performance, but also take into account collective performance, the “class” of a player and their fair play record.

Most importantly, a player’s reputation and performances in the previous years will not be considered when voting for the winner.

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