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Ballon d’Or: France Football make changes to rules around judging

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Ballon d’Or: France Football make changes to rules around judging
Lionel Messi with the Ballon d'Or in 2021 after winning for a record seventh time
Lionel Messi won the Ballon d’Or in 2021 for a record seventh time

The Ballon d’Or awards given to the world’s best male and female footballer will now be judged on performances over a season and not a calendar year.

France Football magazine – organisers of the prestigious award – have also decided to reduce the number of judges.

A panel of 170 journalists will be cut to 100 for the men’s award, while the women’s panel will contain 50 judges.

France Football’s Pascal Ferre said: “Before we were judging based on two half seasons. This will be clearer.”

“It’s an opportunity to give it a new impetus,” the France Football editor added.

The changes announced follow criticism for the choice of Paris St-Germain striker Lionel Messi as Ballon d’Or winner in 2021, when voices across football felt Bayern Munich striker Robert Lewandowski deserved the honour.

Messi won the famous trophy for a record seventh time but Lewandowski – who finished second – had scored 41 Bundesliga goals in the 2020-21 season as he helped Bayern win a ninth consecutive league title.

Ferre said more emphasis will also be placed on the performances of individual players rather than on trophies won by a player’s team.

The change to the number of judges used will see 100 journalists from the highest ranked countries in men’s football used and 50 from the top-ranked women’s nations.

On its official Twitter account, France Football described the move as “less global but… much more demanding”.

The next Ballon d’Or awards will take place September or October 2022 and will be based on the season that ended in July with the women’s Euro 2022.

The men’s World Cup – which takes place in Qatar in November and December – will not be considered by judges until the 2023 awards.

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