FIFA ended its six-year association with Football France over the FIFA Ballon d’Or on Friday, an award that celebrated the best footballer in the world annually and combined the original honour – established in 1956 – and the World Player of the Year given by global football’s governing body from 1991 to 2009.
FIFA is yet to announce its next move, which could amount to a reprisal of its own award, while the Ballon d’Or will once again be voted for exclusively by a select group of international journalists.
This means the element of international team coaches and captains contributing to the vote, which was introduced for the merger with FIFA’s prize, will be shelved.
A shortlist of 30 players will now be presented for voting, an increase on 23 from previous editions, and there will no longer be an announcement of three finalists ahead of the award being presented.
The winner and complete rankings of the shortlist will be revealed before the end of the calendar year. The FIFA Ballon d’Or held its awards gala in January of the following year.
Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo have dominated the FIFA Ballon d’Or and its precursor over the past eight years, with five and three victories respectively.
Brazilian midfielder Kaka was the last man outside of the superstar forwards to claim the prize in 2007 when he lifted the Ballon d’Or and the FIFA World Player of the Year.