L’Equipe has announced major changes on the way the Ballon d’Or winner is decided, with the new rules coming into effect from the next edition of the award.
Paris Saint-Germain forward Lionel Messi was the player who won the prize last year, clinching the Ballon d’Or for a record seventh time, two more than Manchester United’s Cristiano Ronaldo.
These are the four changes announced by L’Equipe.
Season and not year performance
Up to and including the 2021 edition, the Ballon d’Or award was awarded based on the players’ performances during a calendar year, from January to December.
However, from now on, the prize will be given to the best player of the season, from August to July. This means that those who vote for the next edition can take into account the Women’s European Championship, which takes place from July 6 to 31, 2022, but not the 2022 Men’s World Cup in Qatar.
This means that Messi is unlikely to be considered for the 2022 Ballon d’Or, as PSG have been eliminated in the Champions League last 16 and he has struggled to deliver in Ligue 1 so far this season.
More specialists to participate in the process
The editorial staff of France Football and L’Equipe were the ones who choose the 30 Ballon d’Or candidates, as well as the 20 for the Yashin Trophy and 20 for the Kopa Trophy. However, from now on, more specialists will participate in the process, including Ballon d’Or ambassador Didier Drogba and the voters who came closer to getting the last edition’s results rights.
For the next edition, it will be the Vietnamese journalist Truong Anh Ngoc, the New Zealander Gordon Watson and the Czech Karolina Hlavackova who will take part in the process.
Representatives of as many as 170 countries participated in the last edition’s voting, but this is about to change, as representatives of only the top 100 countries in the FIFA ranking and the top 50 for women’s football will be eligible to vote from now on.
After stressing that the Ballon d’Or is an individual award, L’Equipe makes clear that voters should firstly focus mainly on the players’ performances over collective achievements, which will also be taken into consideration, with the third criterion being the players’ ability and sense of fair play.