The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) has recently announced the launch of the BBC Women’s Footballer of the Year competition – the first of its kind and the first ever hosted by a global broadcaster. The BBC Women’s Footballer of the Year award will celebrate the top female footballers currently competing in soccer today. While the award is not directly related to the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL), it wouldn’t be surprising if it includes some players currently participating in the league.
What makes this award different from other “Best Of” awards and most notably the annual FIFA Ballon D’Or given out to the best footballers in the world? As we all know too well, FIFA members are exclusively involved in the nominations and voting of those awards.
While there is a FIFA Women’s World Player Award given out, in recent years it has been seen as more of a popularity contest among FIFA members – who have sometimes been considered “out of touch” when it comes to the women’s game. The BBC Women’s Footballer of the Year competition is brought to the people from a committee of experts who watch and report on the game on a daily basis.
The BBC Women’s Footballer of the Year competition is made up of a panel of experts including administrators, journalists, coaches and former players – who have come together to determine a five-woman shortlist. Not only is the short list compiled by an international panel, it is whittled down to five players to be voted on by football fans from around the world.
It wouldn’t be far-fetched to think that a few names from the NWSL might be on the list. The worldwide women’s football fan-base will have the unique opportunity to vote for the player they feel is best qualified to be named as the best female footballer of the year.
“This award is a great opportunity to highlight the incredible skill level and depth of talent that exists in women’s football globally,” says Caroline Rigby, managing editor of the BBC Women’s Footballer of the Year. “It will demonstrate how far the game has come in recent years and will enable supporters to introduce the best players in the world to new fans.”
The other thing that makes the BBC Women’s Footballer of the Year different is that it’s been carefully put together and hosted by a global broadcaster in the BBC. The BBC Women’s Footballer of the Year award was announced during this month’s edition of Canada Calling on Sportsworld. Broadcasting live on BBC World Service radio each month, Canada Calling features women’s football news and views from across the globe ahead of the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup in Canada.
“2015 is a huge year for women’s football,” adds Mary Hockaday, controller of BBC World Service English. “We are about to see the biggest ever FIFA Women’s World Cup in Canada this summer, making 2015 the perfect time to launch the BBC Women’s Footballer of the Year. I’m proud that BBC World Service is committed to covering women’s sport. This new award will showcase some of the best female football stars to further engage and inspire people about the women’s game.”
The shortlisted players, and details on how to vote, will be revealed on Sunday April 26, 2015. The winner will be announced in late May.
For further information about the award, visit their website.
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