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UEFA Steps In: A New Era for Ballon d'Or and Coaching Excellence Awards.

Roger Hampel

UEFA Ballon d'Or
UEFA Ballon d'Or

FOT: Leo Messi via Instagram

The landscape of European football prestige is about to be reshaped. From 2024, the Ballon d'Or, an emblem of footballing greatness, will be co-organised by UEFA in collaboration with Groupe Amaury. This partnership is set to not only uphold the tradition of excellence but to expand its glory to new realms, including the inaugural awards for the best men's and women's football coaches.

A Synergy of Footballing Giants

UEFA, the cornerstone of European football, will bring its expertise in the sport to the Ballon d'Or, a ceremony that has been synonymous with footballing excellence for nearly seven decades. Groupe Amaury, custodian of France Football, ensures the continuity of the award's legacy by maintaining the ownership and the revered independent voting process.

The UEFA president, Aleksander Ceferin, celebrates this collaboration as "a natural blend of prominence," poised to foster unity and amplify the global appeal of the awards. The union promises to be a catalyst for celebrating football's most outstanding individuals while highlighting the spirit of teamwork that underpins this beautiful game.

Recognition Beyond the Players

While the Ballon d'Or has historically celebrated the finest footballers—both male and female—UEFA's involvement from 2024 signals the recognition of the masterminds behind the teams' success: the coaches. This move acknowledges the strategy, leadership, and vision that coaches bring to the pitch, shaping the careers of players and the fortunes of the clubs.

A Gala of Football's Finest

The annual awards gala, poised to be an even more grandiose affair with UEFA's involvement, will feature a broader spectrum of accolades. Alongside the coveted Men's and Women's Ballon d'Or, the lineup includes the Kopa Trophy for the under-21 category, the Yashin Trophy for goalkeeping prowess, the Gerd Muller Trophy for the season's top scorer, and recognition for both the Men’s and Women’s Clubs of the Season. The Socrates Award, which honors humanitarian contributions, remains an integral part of the ceremony, celebrating the impact of football beyond the field.

A Continuing Tradition of Excellence

The announcement comes on the heels of Lionel Messi's eighth Ballon d'Or triumph, a testament to his enduring influence on the game. Aitana Bonmati's accolade as the Women’s Ballon d'Or winner underlines the growing prominence of women in football, while Jude Bellingham's Kopa Trophy win signals the rise of fresh talent set to take the sport to new heights.

Looking to the Future

With UEFA's strategic marketing prowess and organizational skills, the Ballon d'Or is set to scale new global heights, enhancing its reputation as the most prestigious individual award in the sport. This collaboration marks a pivotal chapter in football history, promising a future where excellence in all facets of the game is celebrated with equal fervor.

Based on source: Eurosport/Alasdair Mackenzie


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