Vivianne Miedema criticises Ballon d’Or’s treatment of women’s football
Vivianne Miedema has criticised the Ballon d’Or for its lack of gender equality, stating she did not ‘feel appreciated’ as a female footballer at the event.
There were four award categories exclusively for male players at the 2022 Ballon d’Or – the Kopa Trophy for best young male player, the Yashin Trophy for best male goalkeeper, the Gerd Muller Trophy for top men’s goal scorer and the main Ballon d’Or award. For female players, there was just the main Ballon d’Or award.
Miedema has been nominated for the award on three occasions, and attended the ceremony for the first time in October 2022.
“We went to the event and we thought: ‘let’s see how it is’ because I’ve been invited the last couple of years but never got the chance to actually go,” Miedema told the BBC’s Behnd the Goals podcast.
“But being there I think – I’m going to be really honest here because I might as well. I didn’t feel appreciated as a woman footballer being there.
“I think if they want to have women involved, they have to do it in a different way. They’ve had five or six different awards for the men’s game and where we’ve only had one award for the women’s one. If they want to make it an equal thing they should be handing out the same awards to men’s and women’s football.”
Barcelona captain Alexia Putellas scooped the 2022 award for a second successive year, while Arsenal’s Beth Mead finished second. Miedema was pictured alongside her partner Mead at the event, and the following day the photo appeared with the caption not naming Mead, but instead describing her as Miedema’s ‘guest’.
Miedema and Mead have both seen the funny side of the mistake – the latter was pictured dancing with supporters with a ‘Guest Mead’s on fire’ sign following Arsenal’s Champions League win over Lyon in October – but Miedema admitted it did highlight the wider issues of equality at the Ballon d’Or ceremony.
“Waking up the next morning and going through everything, that picture popped up and I think that kind of states the issue we’ve been speaking about the night before,” she added. “We’ve got the number two from that year – which arguably should have been number one – turning up to the event being my guest.
“That would obviously never happen if Messi and Neymar would be walking next to each other. We obviously made a joke about it, I still joke about it right now with Beth sometimes, but that shows you that there’s so many more improvements to be made in the game.
“We laugh about right now but I think over the whole event it needs to be organised so much better and it needs to be so much more equal than it has been.”
England will be considered failures if we don’t win Euro 2024
England defender Harry Maguire has revealed he will head to Euro 2024 with the mindset that anything less than winning the competition will be a failure.
The Three Lions have cemented their status as a strong tournament team over the last half-decade under the guidance of Gareth Southgate.
After reaching the FIFA World Cup semi-finals in 2018, England were only denied victory at Euro 2020 on penalties against Italy in the final.
There were high hopes that they could go all the way at the 2022 World Cup over the winter, but were narrowly beaten by reigning champions France in a hard-fought quarter-final.
England kicked off their Euro 2024 qualifying campaign with a 2-1 win at Italy, and speaking to the press post-match, Maguire revealed his ambitions for glory in Germany next summer.
“I think for me, at my age as well, 30 years old now, I’m with a mindset of, ‘If we don’t win the tournament, it’s been a failure’,” he said.
“We’ve got to qualify first – I mean it’s a tough group, [but] we’ve come here and got an amazing result.
“But that’s my mindset. I’ve been at three major tournaments now and I’ve come so close. I believe we have the players to win it. We went into Qatar wanting to win the tournament. So ultimately, when we get knocked out, as a squad we’re disappointed. The performances were good, we kept the most clean sheets at the tournament, we were one of the top goalscorers despite going out in the quarter-final.
“I’m speaking on behalf of myself but I know from speaking to the other lads as well, they were really pleased that Gareth stayed [on as manager]. We’ve built something as a group and he’s been the leader of it. He’s been the one who’s given us hope and given us belief as a country to be successful in these major tournaments and, for sure, it benefits us for us for him to be in charge.
“These big tournaments are decided on the finest margins. We played really well in the World Cup and ultimately, we got knocked out by a good French team. A French team that we believe we can take on and if we play them ten times, we would give them a good game ten times and probably win more than we lose.
“However, they’ve proven over the years that they manage to get the job done better than England do. So it’s something that we’re working on. We have so much talent and so many young players coming through.”
Maguire recognised that England were simply beaten at the 2022 World Cup by a more experienced and successful international side in France.
Despite reservations over Didier Deschamps, the 54-year-old has an incredible tournament record – to have won one final and lost two others is a far better record than most other coaches in the history of football.
England hope to be on a similar path with Southgate, but as Maguire insisted, they need to win a tournament if they’re to be remembered fondly and without tinges of regret.
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