The Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) has announced an official partnership with organizers of the Ballon d’Or awards. The governing body of the sport in Europe announced the agreement just days after the most recent ceremony. Lionel Messi edged out Manchester City striker Erling Haaland for the men’s awards. Aitana Bonmatí, on the other hand, collected the trophy on the women’s side.
The Ballon d’Or is an annual trophy France Football awards to the top player. The first edition of the award happened in 1956. For most of its early years, only European players could win. Players from across the world, including South America and Africa, in 1995. The news outlet, through publishing company Groupe Amaury, previously partnered with FIFA to organize the event. However, FIFA eventually ended the deal in 2016 to create its annual awards.
UEFA boss thrilled with new partnership with award show
Aleksander Ceferin, UEFA’s current president, claimed that the partnership is natural. This comes down to the continent’s high-profile competitions. More specifically, the UEFA Champions League is the top club competition in the world. Winners of the tournament are also generally thought to be the top team in the sport for that specific season.
“UEFA club and national team competitions, such as the UEFA Champions League and UEFA Euro, are regarded as the highest global stages for elite players, often playing a critical role in a player’s candidacy for major honors and their place in the football pantheon,” proclaimed Ceferin.
“UEFA and Ballon d’Or are synonyms of sporting excellence, so our partnership will be a natural blend of prominence and a synergy that promises to be nothing short of exceptional.”
FIFA, UEFA set to continue battle at dueling award shows
FIFA and UEFA have been battling it out for years now. One of the key aspects of the conflict is FIFA President Gianni Infantino’s idea to organize more events. This even included an idea to hold the FIFA World Cup every two years. Ceferin was strongly against the notion and even claimed that it would “kill football” back in 2021.
Infantino’s desire to host more FIFA competitions would take significant time away from other tournaments. This includes the UEFA Champions League and CONMEBOL’s Copa America. The South American governing body of the sport countered Infantino’s ideas by forming a new partnership with CONCACAF.
Both Western Hemisphere groups will co-organize the upcoming 2024 Copa America. While CONMEBOL is still taking 10 national teams to the competition, the tournament itself is in the United States. Six CONCACAF teams will take part in the 2024 Copa America next summer.
FIFA’s battle with their confederations will affect the annual award shows. UEFA will now be going straight against FIFA due to their partnership with the Ballon d’Or. The Best FIFA Football Awards gained traction with soccer fans around the globe. Yet, most consider the Ballon d’Or the premier award.
The deal between UEFA and France Football will also see the governing body drop their annual award as well. However, UEFA will still name Player of the Year awards for their club competitions. This includes the Champions League, Europa League, and Europa Conference League. UEFA will also help create a new award at the Ballon d’Or ceremony for the top coach in the sport.
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