Football is back with a vengeance, dare I say? All leagues are in full swing and the fans are back in the stadia too. Enjoying the beautiful game. All together, at long last.
“Meanwhile, we carried on updating our Football Club Database with all the games during and since the pandemic.”Clas Glenning, Sport Stats Chief
Indeed, we kept the beautiful game going, our way, the SportStatsGuru way. And there are interesting & topical examples on the blog. You might even want to check football stats, it’s quite entertaining!
Before you go and check it out though, we’d like to discuss some important changes which are happening with the Ballon d’Or. We will review one of the most prestigious awards in Football and explain why this will bring more diversity and especially fairness.
History of the Ballon d’Or
We like facts and history at SportStatsGuru so let’s start with a quick recap of the Ballon d’Or legend.
- It was started in 1956 by specialist weekly magazine, France Football
- That magazine itself started in 1946
- At the beginning, focus was on European players and European football
- Between 1996 and 2006, any football player in Europe could be awarded the prestigious trophy
- In 2007, any football player in the world could be handed the Ballon d’Or
This is probably why FIFA approached France Football in 2010 and suggested that the Ballon d’Or award merges with FIFA Player of the Year award. This meant the jury widened up. Besides journalists, captains and coaches from national teams had their say. That only lasted 6 years.
In 2016, France Football regained full control of the award and only journalists could vote. This has been the case until now, but with some changes. Before we go and review these, let’s check the winners during the transition years.
Did the changes had an impact on awards?
The question you must be asking yourself. We did too so let’s check the facts, this is what we do for a living. During the first change that is to say expansion to non-european players in Europe in the late 90s.
- Between 1996 and 2006, 3 brazilian players were awarded the trophy. 4 times.
- The other Ballon d’Or were from:
- Czech Republic
Great variety but you can also see the impact of Brazilian football in Europe during those years. With the FIFA touch, variety dropped seriously.
- Kaka won it once
- Messi won it 5 times
- Ronaldo won it 3 times
The best footballers in the world played in Europe. Why should FIFA be involved? France Football probably wanted to get a hand back onto their creation. So they did!
Recent changes and impact on quality
With a return to the craddle of football, the Ballon d’Or winners all evolved in Spain. Not a surprise since they host such quality football. Probably some of the most lively journalists too. Now with the recent changes, we should see even more variety and this is why this is for the better:
- The player’s performance will be top criteria, especially their impact
- A player without a team is nothing, the performance of the team will matter more
- The style and fair-play of the player will matter too
2022 is a special year in many ways. France Football have changed the rules and the schedule. Players will now be reviewed across the season, not the calendar year which was a bit of a non-sense. We do welcome that decision. With the World Cup in the winter, that means that performance in Qatar will be reviewed for the 2023 Ballon d’Or. Again, that makes sense. We often see players shining at the FIFA World Cup and then disappear at club level. With that, France Football did add more swing to the changes.
- Didier Drogba, official ambassador for Ballon d’Or will have a say
- Only journalists from top 100 FIFA countries will be able to participate
- The wizest jury from the previous year will also have a say
This means, quality over quantity. Maybe less bias too, definitely more focus on player’s performance during a whole season. So what is your bet for 2022 Ballon d’Or? How about you check Real Madrid vs Liverpool before you answer?