The majority of the 20 Ballon d’Or Féminin nominees will be unable to attend the ceremony next week due to a clash with international duty.
A women’s category was introduced to football’s most prestigious award in 2018, ending a 62-year period of failing to recognise female footballers.
Norway’s Ada Hegerberg received the inaugural award, before American star Megan Rapinoe took the title in 2019. Last year’s event was cancelled due to COVID-19.
This year, 20 of the world’s best female footballers have been nominated for the Ballon d’Or. But the majority will be on international duty during the ceremony on November 29th, meaning hardly any players will be able to attend the event in person.
Midfielder Sam Mewis is the only American player to make the list. As she is currently injured, the North Carolina Courage star could arguably make the trip to Paris to attend.
Otherwise, she would have likely been featuring for the US against Australia on November 27th and 30th. The timing and location of the matches means it will be impossible for Australian striker Sam Kerr to attend the Ballon d’Or ceremony.
Vivianne Miedema and Lieke Martens of the Netherlands will be in action against Japan during the ceremony itself, while England’s Ellen White and Fran Kirby have a World Cup qualifier against Latvia the following day.
Spain also has a World Cup qualifying match against Scotland on November 30th. This could mean Alexia Putellas, favourite to win the Ballon d’Or Féminin, could be absent from the event.
Her compatriots and Barcelona teammates Sandra Paños, Irene Paredes and Jenni Hermoso could also be missing.
Christine Sinclair, Jessie Fleming and Ashley Lawrence, nominated after winning an Olympic gold medal with Canada, will be in Mexico this weekend.
Three French players have been nominated – Marie-Antoinette Katoto, Wendie Renard and Kadidiatou Diani.
This trio of players could well be in attendance due to their proximity to the award ceremony, but they still have a match against Wales in Brittany the next day.
According to The Telegraph, the agents of six Ballon d’Or Féminin nominees have said they are not expecting their clients to be able to attend. The actual number of those absent is expected to be a lot higher.
The 2021 Ballon d’Or will take place at the Theatre du Chatelet in Paris, although the time of the ceremony has not yet been confirmed.
Robert Lewandowski, Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi are among the male players nominated.