Reuters - Mon, 05 Jul 16:53:00 2010
FIFA have unveiled a deal with France Football magazine to combine the world's top two football accolades into a single award.
The 'Ballon d'Or' - run by France Football - will be merged with FIFA's World Player of the Year trophy as of next January to create a single, undisputed greatest player of the year award.
The first 'FIFA Ballon d'Or' prize will be awarded in Zurich, Switzerland on January 10 next year.
"I am a very happy president today," said FIFA president Sepp Blatter after signing the agreement with Marie-Odile Amaury, president of the group that owns France Football.
"The winner is football because as of January we will have one single trophy for the best player of the world and this will be the Ballon d'Or."
Coaches and captains of national teams, as well as media, will vote for the new award.
The FIFA World Player of the Year dates back to 1991, when it was won by Germany's Lothar Matthaeus.
The Ballon d'Or has a far longer history, going back to 1956 when the inaugural winner was Stanley Matthews. The award was restricted to Europe-based players until 2007, when it was changed to a global award.
"They've not just done well in the World Cup, but have been performing well for their teams too," Weah said.