FIFA Merge Their Two Top Player Awards

“The winner is football because, as of January, we will have one single trophy for the best player in the world and this will be the Ballon d’Or.” - Sepp Blatter, President of FIFA

As of next year, the two most prestigious individual accolades in world football will cease to exist as seperate entities, and merge to create a single globe-spanning award. France Football’s Ballon d’Or (i.e. the European Footballer of the Year award) will now be combined with FIFA’s World Player of the Year award to form a single title, to be named the FIFA Ballon d’Or Award. The deal was jointly announced by the publisher of France Football magazine Marie-Odile Amaury and FIFA president Sepp Blatter.

France Football’s award had always traditionally set the precedent by being presented first (usually in Paris in early December) with FIFA’s honour being announced a month later at a gala ceremony held, in recent years, at the Opera House in the governing body’s home city of Zurich. However, the revamped FIFA Ballon d’Or award will be presented in Zurich at an annual ceremony that has been tentatively pencilled in for 10th January.

It is fairly easy to see why France Football and FIFA have decided to amalgamate the two awards as, for the past five years running, the same player has been bestowed with the same honour. Ronaldinho, Fabio Cannavaro, Kaka, Cristiano Ronaldo and (current holder of both gongs) Lionel Messi have all systematically swept the board at each of the respective organisations’ voting booths – meaning that the introduction of a homogeneous award will seemingly have little impact on the outcome and save a small fortune on self-congratulatory champagne.

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