Ben Massey, who has long made a habit of pointing out the appalling voting record in the Ballon d’Or when it comes to the finalists and eventual winner, has made some waves with an expert breakdown of the incredible voting record for the 2012 Woman Player of the Year, which went to the USA’s Abby Wambach.
The work is to be commended, but Massey hammers the conclusion home:
The Ballon d’Or is being decided, in large parts, by the sub-minnows of women’s soccer. Countries which are active once every two or four years, where women’s soccer has virtually no significance, determine what is supposed to be the highest honour in women’s soccer. People from the outskirts of women’s soccer who’ve never played against or seen any of the candidates, except maybe in one qualifier they lost 11-0, in countries where women’s soccer has no cultural standing, are accorded equal weight to the Miyamas, the Sinclairs, and the Lloyds of the world. Coaches who work with the seriousness of your average Sunday leaguer, have real jobs, and run programs that would lose to any PCSL women’s team waste votes on lousy players because they’ve heard of them. This is a systemic flaw, inherent in giving the irrelevant two-thirds an equal voice to the one-third that matters in this game.
I’ve thought a lot this week that this silly controversy about the importance of the awards could one day be mitigated with the improvement in objective player metrics. The same old patina of old school journos talking crap about player “intangibles” might remain, but the rest of us from whom comparing players need not be an endless pissing contest or a pointless fight over the aggregate opinions of otherwise unqualified “experts” might be spared the entire endeavour.
Even if that day never comes, and it probably won’t, caveat emptor on these kinds of press-awarded baubles. Michael Owen one it once, remember…