Ballon d’Or award announces four drastic rule changes

The Ballon d'Or, the most prestigious individual honour in football, will go through drastic changes ahead of the next award ceremony

Lionel Messi’s record-setting win at this year’s ceremony 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 magazine, which has been handing out the accolade since 1956, recently announced that the award will now be based on performances over the course of a regular European season from August to July, rather than a calendar year.

The award will now be based on performances across a whole football season, rather than a calendar year, and the jury that selects the winner will be reduced to around 100 journalists rather than the current 170. The women’s award will have a jury of 50.

The next Ballon d’Or will be handed out in September or October 2022 and will be based on the season that ended in July with the women’s Euros.

With the FIFA World Cup finals in Qatar not taking place until November and December this year, the stars of that event will have to wait until the 2023 awards.

“The [Ballon d’Or] rules have not changed much since their inception and the criteria frequently give rise to debate,” said France Football’s chief editor Pascal Ferre.

“So we thought it appropriate to refresh the hierarchy of the constituent elements in the vote for greater consistency and clarity.

A tightening that reinforces the level of expertise and limits the fanciful votes. What will be lost in picturesqueness will be gained in legitimacy and reliability,” he added.

In another change, former Chelsea and Ivory Coast star Didier Drogba has been added to the voting process along with the journalists involved in the Ballon d’Or voting. Drogba will be joined by Truong Anh Ngoc and Czech juror Karolina Hlavackova to compile a list of nominees.

The criteria will also be clarified with “individual performances” given more prominence than factors such as the trophies won by a player’s team or an individual’s “sense of fairplay”.

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