FIFA’S acrimonious rupture from France Football over ownership of the prestigious Ballon d’Or award was fuelled by Gianni Infantino’s determination to improve relations with the English FA, according to reports in Spain.
Football’s governing body will have presided over the gong since 2010 after agreeing to pay £13million for merge of the two major player awards with the French magazine.
However, the contract came to an abrupt end just short of a six-year union. The Fifa Ballon d’or will again lose its ‘Fifa’ tag and be voted for exclusively by journalists, while the Fifa World Player of the Year award — which ran from 1991 to 2009 — will be resurrected.
And AS report Infantino’s decision not to renew the deal was based on the fact the annual ceremony is held in Zurich — and the Fifa president wants to move the next one to London.
The Swiss-Italian’s objective is to repair the organisation’s strained relationship with FA chief, Greg Clarke.
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The head of English football has distanced itself from Fifa following the corruption scandal and controversial decisions to allow the next two editions of the World Cup to be held in Russia (2018) and Qatar (2022).
However, Infantino sees the FA as a powerful ally and will offer the first Fifa World Player of the Year award as an olive branch.
Since the merge, the January ceremony has been held exclusively in Zurich.