Vivianne Miedema criticises Ballon d'Or's treatment of women's football
By Ali Rampling
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."