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A WOMAN will win the most prestigious individual trophy in football for the first time this year.
Awarded every year by France Football magazine since Stanley Matthews won it in 1956, the Ballon d’Or for the best player of the year will be given to both a woman and a man on December 3 in Paris.
Pascal Ferre, the magazine’s editor in chief, said women’s football has grown so much in recent years it was a logical step to create the new award.
“Women’s football is a booming discipline that deserves the same respect as men’s football,” Ferre said.
“It’s coming to maturity and growing bigger. More than 760 million TV viewers watched games at the last women’s World Cup in 2015. This did not happen by chance.”
France Football will make an official announcement in tomorrow’s edition of the magazine.
A list of 15 nominees for the prize will be announced on October 8 alongside the 30-man selection. The players will be selected by France Football and a panel of international journalists specialising in women’s football will vote on a winner.
“The jury won’t be the same as the jury voting for the men,” Ferre said. “Only experts can vote. I’m confident we will get a jury of about 40 journalists from countries where women’s football is growing.”
The Ballon d’Or merged with the Fifa World Player of the Year award from 2010-15, but the magazine and football’s governing body split two years ago. Fifa also awards a trophy to the best women’s player.
Ferre said most of the female players he spoke with about the new Ballon d’Or have been enthusiastic.
“They are thrilled and can’t wait for it,” Ferre said. “They are very proud to see that the world of football considers that women should be treated in the same respect as men.”
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