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ESPN FC  By ESPN

France Football announces changes to Ballon d'Or award after FIFA split

The Ballon d'Or had been co-sponsored by FIFA since 2010.

France Football has announced new rule changes for its Ballon d'Or award.

The announcement comes after the magazine ended its six-year association with FIFA -- a relationship in which the Ballon d'Or and FIFA's World Player of the Year combined to award the world's best player. 

Before the partnership with FIFA, the Ballon d'Or was given to the top European player from 1956 from 1994. And between 1995 and 2009, it was awarded to the best player from any continent playing at a European club.

And while FIFA hasn't announced its plans for the World Player of the Year award going forward, France Football on Monday confirmed the voting for the award will return to a select group of international journalists, which leaves out the input of national team captains and coaches.

France Football also announced the shortlist of finalists will grow from 23 to 30 names, and they will no longer announce the three finalists before presenting the award.

They will also change the date of the announcement. The winner will now be revealed before the close of the calendar year. Previously, the Ballon was handed out at an awards ceremony in January.

Since 2010, only Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo have been awarded the prize. Messi has won four times (2010, 2011, 2012 and 2015), while Ronaldo has won twice (2013 and 2014).  

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