What’s the Relevance of the Ballon d’Or?

ballon-d-or.nThe Fifa Ballon d’Or award will once again become separate from football’s governing body, according to reports in Spain.

The annual gong was created in 2010 when the European and world honours merged.

Prior to 2010, France Football managed the Ballon d’Or while Fifa would hand out the Fifa World Player of the Year award — and it would frequently yield out two different winners.

Since the merge, only Messi (four times) and Cristiano Ronaldo’s (twice) have won the awards.

The Ballon d’Or was created in 1956 — in the same summer of the first European Cup final — to reward the best player in Europe.

It is claimed the initial reason for the gong was to pay homage to the stunning career of Sir Stanley Matthews, who was the inaugural recipient.

Only European players were honoured, which is very telling of how these guys thought of global football, but anyways — so Fifa introduced a secondary award for players from all around the globe in 1991.

The rules for the European award changed in 1995 and any player playing in the continent was eligible for the award and so George Weah became the first non-European winner.

The Liberian also claimed the Fifa World Player of the Year award that same year.

I am not a big fan of individual awards in football, even less of the current FIFA balloon d’or format that invited players to kick off a political campaign to win.

The real questions are whether the ballon d’or brings any added value to top players. Does it contribute to a global recognition? Is the ballon d’or a strong addition to their marketing proposition? No, no and no.

Thing is, the ballon d’or that started off as an award for European players only, has become some kind of gimmick (another one) where only the creme de la crème was present at the ceremony with players wearing fancy suits.

So what is exactly the relevance of the Ballon d’Or in 2016?

There is much more to do in football than giving a personal award to a player already praised and acknowledged by the whole world (or half) for being talented.

Karl Lusbec