Ballon d’Or 2022 sees a set of brand new rules which would change the previous ones and probably lead to new candidates and winners.

France Football magazine, the organiser of this annual football award, has reportedly introduced new regulation for the upcoming edition. Pascal Ferre, the chief editor, made an official statement regarding the change.

"The rules have not changed much since their inception and the criteria frequently give rise to debate. So we thought it appropriate to refresh the hierarchy of the constituent elements in the vote for greater consistency and clarity.A tightening that reinforces the level of expertise and limits the fanciful votes. What will be lost in picturesqueness will be gained in legitimacy and reliability."

However, it is believed that the real reason for such amendment was triggered by last year’s edition when Lionel Messi surprisingly won his seventh award beating the favorite Robert Lewandowski. Messi did succeed in leading Argentina to lift their first major trophy, Copa America, since 1993 but did not impress much in the earlier season after moving to Ligue 1 giant, PSG. Lewy, on the other hand, was deemed better than the Argentine talisman after winning European Golden Shoe by scoring 41 goals in 29 games in 2020/21 season. Messi’s victory in 2021 was received by mixed reaction at that time. Therefore, it is probably the right time for France Football to finally adjust the rule for the fairer vote.

Here are the changes of rules for Ballon d’Or 2022:

  • The award is held in October every year instead of November as it was.
  • The candidates are determined based on their performance in one season (August to July), instead of the form during the calendar year (January to November).
  • The focus shall be more on the players’ individual performance rather than their collective accolades or team’s achievement, previous form or even their reputation.
  • The number of journalists taking part of the vote will be reduced from 170 to 100 only for the men’s football. Those voters are from the top 100 nations in the latest FIFA rankings.

Based on those adjustments, especially referring to the second one, the players’ form in the next world cup in Qatar will not be taken into account this year but for the 2023 edition. What’s more, several new candidates could replace the traditional favourites including Messi dan Cristiano Ronaldo who were not in their best in 2021/22 season.

The possible candidates for the next Ballon d’Or can be seen from their overall performance last season. The current European Golden Shoe winner, Robert Lewandowsky still gets his chance this year. He netted 55 goals and provided six assists for his club and country in all competitions. His expected rivals are the two Frenchmen, Kylian Mbappe registering 42 goals and 24 assists, Karim Benzema with 52 goals and 15 assists and Mo Salah scoring 33 times and providing 16 assists. They all have been significantly better than CR7 with 31 goals and six assists or Leo Messi who only contributed 17 goals and 14 assists.