Arsenal striker Beth Mead has heavily criticised the organisers of the Ballon d’Or for their treatment of women’s football.
Mead came second to Barcelona’s Alexia Putellas at the ceremony back in October, but the England international claims that the women’s prize was treated as an afterthought, in contrast to the FIFA Best awards:
“I thought the Ballon d’Or was a token Ballon d’Or for women’s football – and that’s all it was. The set up wasn’t great. Alexia went up, they asked her a couple of question and off she went. In between that they did Lewandowski top scorer, goalkeeper of the year – no female goalkeeper of the year – and a community award.”
“They did three of four awards between the female Ballon d’Or and the men’s Ballon d’Or. And the at the end it was Benzema who won, his full family was on stage taking pictures with him, all the journalists, and Alexia was sat on the front seat as if she wasn’t even there.”
“It’s such a prestigious award [Ballon d’Or], but then, it was a tick box to have women there but they weren’t doing it right. The FIFA Best, they did everything aligned. They did it all together so it was so much better.”
There is seemingly still a long way to go in terms of equality, and Mead is right to highlight the lack of balance in terms of the time that the Ballon d’Or organisers gave to the men and women.
Considering the event is ostensibly run by France Football magazine, you would have hoped for better, considering the coverage that the women’s game gets across the channel.
Mead was rightly recognised for her outstanding performances, though, and she will be massively disappointed to have picked up a serious knee injury. The forward will be hoping to be back on the pitch as soon as possible.