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Ballon d’Or scheduling proves the women’s game remains an afterthought

For starters, the timing makes it impossible for Australia’s Sam Kerr to be in Paris next Monday, as her Matildas side face the world champion United States in New South Wales around 12 hours later (9.05am GMT on Tuesday, November 30).

Holland’s Vivianne Miedema and Lieke Martens will be in the middle of a match during the ceremony itself, taking on Japan in a friendly on Monday night, while Lyon goalkeeper Christiane Endler will be captaining her Chile side in Manaus, Brazil, as they take part in a four-team tournament.

And England – whose forwards Fran Kirby and Ellen White have both been nominated – will be preparing to face Latvia in Doncaster the following evening, one of many Women’s World Cup qualifiers involving the rest of the potential award winners.

It is a bad look for an institution that sparked huge controversy and accusations of sexism when its first female winner in 2018, Ada Hegerberg of Norway, was asked to “twerk” live on stage by the host, DJ Martin Solveig, who later apologised.

For an award that had completely ignored women for 62 years since first recognising the best men’s player in 1956, that incident in 2018 was a woeful start to say the least, and now it seems the women’s game remains a second-class citizen. Thankfully, this year’s winner is unlikely to be disrespected in such a way on stage – largely because they probably won’t be there.

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