France Football has announced that a Ballon d’Or for the world’s top female footballer will be awarded alongside the traditional men’s honour this year
The Ballon d’Or has honoured the best male player of the preceding 12 months since 1956. For 2018, a women’s award will be handed out along with the men’s with a global panel of expert journalists handpicked for each category deciding the winner.
“At a time when the place of women provokes so much societal debate, the arrival of this supreme award is not at all opportunistic,” France Football wrote when announcing the initiative.
“It’s merely a logical evolution for a discipline that is expanding rapidly. It’s a boom that can be seen in the emergence of a number of clubs which are increasingly well structured, the number of registered players, TV audiences, and crowds.”
A 15-strong shortlist will be announced on L’Equipe TV on Oct. 8 at the same time as the 30 names in contention for the men’s award.
The birth of the Ballon d’Or is a step further in the evolution of our sport, which is progressing well,” France international and Lyon star Wendie Renard told the magazine. “It’s a step forward. Women’s football is progressing and the inequalities are being reduced even if there is still progress to be made.”
“I have always wanted to see a woman win this prestigious award,” said Brazilian icon Marta, who has been named FIFA World Player of the Year five times.
“It’s a step forward towards greater equality to see such an award, which is so important in the world of football, also be given to female players.”
The winners of the men’s and women’s awards will be announced on Dec 3.