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‘Better planning’: England’s Stanway questions date of Ballon d’Or ceremony

Georgia Stanway has expressed her frustration at the scheduling of Monday night’s Ballon d’Or awards ceremony in Paris, with many female players who were nominated unable to attend because of Nations League fixtures.

“Yeh it really is [frustrating] because it’s potentially a once in a lifetime opportunity,” said Stanway, who is preparing for England’s game against Belgium in Leuven on Tuesday . “You never know if you’re ever going to get selected for such an accolade like that again, so it would be really nice to enjoy the experience and be there and feel like a star among the stars.

“But, unfortunately, well not unfortunately because we’ve got a game, but if it was planned a little bit better then it would be easier for a lot of female footballers to be there.”

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The Bayern Munich midfielder has been named among the 30 nominees for the women’s award for the first time after she scored 14 goals and provided seven assists in her first season in the Bundesliga, as well as winning the Finalissima and reaching a World Cup final with England.

“It’s very cool [to be nominated]”, she said. “Obviously, it’s nice to get the accolade, as well as a lot of the teammates in the Lionesses. There’s a few people that I would also add to the list that have had very, very successful years. But yeah, it’s a real achievement to be amongst those names and it’s unfortunate that we couldn’t be there.

“That’s something that we spoke as a player group, and we just kind of said, it would be nice in the future if it wasn’t on a matchday minus one so we could enjoy the experience.”

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Stanway recently extended her contract at Bayern until 2026 and feels the move helped her reach another level. “I feel like it’s really helped me, I feel like over the last 12-16 months I’ve got some real consistency in the position that I’m playing and I’ve kind of been able to make it my own,” she said. “It kind of links with the position that I play here so, it’s obviously got a good connection in that. I’m really enjoying my time in Munich. I enjoy my life, both on and off the pitch, which I think is really important.”

The Ballon d’Or awards ceremony takes place at the luxurious Théâtre du Châtelet on the banks of the river Seine and near Notre Dame. The Women’s Ballon d’Or was introduced in 2018, 67 years after the men’s award. Male players can also win the Kopa Trophy for best player under the age of 21, the Yashin Trophy for best goalkeeper and the Gerd Müller trophy for best striker, players from the women’s game are not considered in these categories.

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The England manager, Sarina Wiegman, said: “Well, you hope that develops too [the number of women’s award categories]. It would be nice for them [to be able to go]. Everyone is working so hard, but of course we have to do a job, that’s what we’re here [in Belgium] for. You can’t attend that. It would be really nice if things like that were organised so that players have the opportunity to join too.”