Ballon d’Or shake up as UEFA agrees new deal

Football’s most prestigious individual prize, the Ballon d’Or, will be co-organised by UEFA from next year, giving the European governing body a global event that traditionally out-ranks FIFA’s own world awards.

The deal comes seven years after a previous partnership between the French organisers of the award and world governing body FIFA ended.

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From 2024, the Ballon d’Or awards and ceremony will be co-organised by UEFA and Groupe Amaury, which publishes France Football and L’Equipe.

France Football magazine created the Ballon d’Or, which was first awarded in 1956 to England winger Stanley Matthews. For six seasons from 2010 the award was known as the FIFA Ballon d’Or, and ceremonies were held in the world governing body’s home city Zurich.

FIFA has run its own Best Awards since 2016 and previously had an annual world player of the year award since 1991.

The latest edition of the Ballon d’Or was held Monday in Paris with two World Cup winners taking the awards as best player: Lionel Messi won the men’s prize for the eighth time and Aitana Bonmatí took home her first women’s award.

“UEFA will contribute its football expertise, market the global commercial rights and organize the annual awards gala,” it said in a statement.

The relaunch will add new awards for the best coaches in men’s and women’s soccer.

“Together, UEFA and Groupe Amaury aim to enhance the stature and global reach of the awards while fostering a sense of unity and collaboration within the football community,” UEFA said.

The deal will also see UEFA scrap its own player of the year awards, which have traditionally been handed out in August, although it will hand out a player of the season award for each of its club competitions, such as the Champions League and Europa League.

Meanwhile, Messi and Inter Miami will play an exhibition match on Nov. 10 to celebrate him winning his eighth Ballon d’Or.

The team will play fellow Major League Soccer club New York City FC. Both teams missed the MLS playoffs, which started last month.

The trophy will be presented to the crowd before the match, with that ceremony also set to include remarks by MLS Commissioner Don Garber and Inter Miami co-owner Jorge Mas, the team said.

Messi returned to South Florida early Tuesday after the Ballon d’Or announcement and was at a training session with the club that morning, which was a clear indicator that Inter Miami was still looking to add a match even though its MLS season is over.

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