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Huge changes in Ballon d’Or confirmed… Dominance of Messi and Ronaldo could be over (READ)

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FRANCE FOOTBALL have proudly announced the “61st Ballon d’Or will be the beginning of a new era” after confirming their split from Fifa.

The French magazine presided over the award from 1956 until 2009 until Fifa took over after agreeing a £13million deal.

From 2010, voting changed and the old Ballon d’Or and Fifa World Player of the Year awards merged.

However, Gianni Infantino has decided to resurrect the global gong in a bid to repair relations with the English FA — and take the ceremony out of Zurich.

France Football have confirmed there will now be major changes, starting with the venue which, for the first time in seven years will not be held in the Swiss city, but in Paris.

A statement read: “After six years in which captains, managers and journalists chose the winner, the rules will change a little for 2016.

“The champion will be selected, like before, by a jury of journalists from all around the world.

“Here are the main novelties:

“1. The vote will include a list of 30 players — instead of the 23 in previous editions.

“2. The intermediate phase, where a list of three finalists was announced — will cease to exist.

“3. The winner and the entire list with will completed and revealed before the end of the year. [The gala has been traditionally held in January]”

AC Milan and Italy legend, Gianni Rivera, who won the Ballon d’Or in 1969, was among those to rejoice the move, insisting: “The Ballon d’Or has returned home.”

In its six years of existence since the merge, the award has been won by only two players — Lionel Messi (four) and Cristiano Ronaldo (two).

However, under the old voting format, each would have had one fewer.

Messi won his first — and second overall — in 2010, but journalists had actually chosenWesley Sneijder as the victor, with the Argentinian finishing in fourth place.

While, when Ronaldo won his second in 2013, journalists had voted Franck Ribery ahead of him.

The Fifa World Player of the Year award — which will now be resurrected — was in existence from 1991 to 2009 and has never been won by and Englishman.

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