Football Notes: UEFA's Michel Platini Questions Ballon D'Or Voting Process
UEFA President Michel Platini "has questioned the Ballon d’Or voting process after Bayern Munich star Franck Ribery lost out to Cristiano Ronaldo." Ribery "had been considered the early frontrunner for the prize" after winning the Bundesliga, DFB-Pokal and Champions League in '13, but "ultimately finished third." Platini said that "he is concerned by the direction the Ballon d’Or is taking since it was merged with FIFA's World Player of the Year award in 2010." Platini: "For 50 years, the Ballon d’Or took into account trophies won on the pitch but something has changed since FIFA took it over. That a Spanish player didn’t win in 2010 after the World Cup and that Franck would not be recognized even though he won everything -- that poses a problem" (ESPN, 1/14). ... Football managers "are being helped to prepare for one of their players coming out as gay, at a time when the sport is moving towards a top-flight star making such a disclosure." Professionals undertaking the FA’s Pro Licence course at St. George’s Park "have been asked to consider how they would deal with the situation in one of a number of role-play scenarios, which now form part of their teaching" (London INDEPENDENT, 1/14). ... Second Bundesliga club FC Cologne "wants together with the official Michael Schumacher Fan Club to send a message to the injured seven-time F1 world champion ahead of Saturday's exhibition match against FC Schalke." Prior to kickoff both teams "will present a big banner featuring greetings and wishes for Schumacher." The 45-year-old, who was injured during a ski accident in December, "has been a long-time member of the Cologne-based club" (DPA, 1/15).