France Football have made some pretty significant rule changes to the Ballon d’Or following its split from FIFA.
From 2017 onwards, only journalists will cast votes - national team coaches and captains will no longer have a say in where the prestigious individual accolade ends up.
The shortlist of finalists will also increase from 23 to 30, there will be no three-man finalists ahead of the ceremony, while the award will not be presented before the end of the calendar year as opposed to January.
But it’s the first rule change that is likely to concern the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi.
They can no longer rely on their teammates for votes; it’s now all in the hands of Europe’s leading sports journalists.
But would this have changed the outcome of the FIFA Ballon d’Or in recent years?
The answer to that is, according to Italian sports journalist Tancredi Palmeri, a resounding ‘yes’.
Messi won the 2010 Ballon d’Or ahead of his Barcelona teammates Andres Iniesta and Xavi.
Many fans felt the award should have gone to Iniesta after his winning goal at the 2010 World Cup final in South Africa, but it was Messi who secured the prize for the second time in his career.
If the award was based solely on journalist’s votes that year, however, it would have gone to Inter Milan midfielder Wesley Sneijder instead.
The Dutchman won the treble with Inter and led the Netherlands to the World Cup final, winning the Silver Ball award in the process.
Ronaldo won the Ballon d’Or for the second time in 2013 ahead of Messi and Franck Ribery.
But if only the votes of journalists counted, the award would have gone to Ribery over the Portuguese superstar.
The Frenchman played a key role in Bayern Munich’s treble triumph that year - but that was only good enough to see him secure third place on the Ballon d’Or podium.
Will the Ballon d’Or be fairer now that only journalists can vote? Have your say by leaving a comment below.
Do YOU want to write for GiveMeSport? Get started today by signing-up and submitting an article HERE: https://www.givemesport.com/writeforgms