Premier League Ballon burst by Fifa nominations

THE NOMINATIONS for this year’s Fifa Ballon d’Or award, announced yesterday, provided more ammunition for those critics who claim the Premier League’s stock is on the slide.

Of the 23 players nominated for the prestigious title – which has now merged with the Fifa World Player of the Year award – only three came from the Premier League.

Cesc Fabregas of Arsenal and Chelsea’s Didier Drogba unsurprisingly made the cut, but eyebrows were raised at the inclusion of Sunderland’s Asamoah Gyan (below), whose association with the English top-flight is short-lived in any case.

The Premier League has dominated the nominations list – which has been shortened from 50 players in 2005 to 30 in 2008 and again to 23 this year – in recent seasons.

Since 2005 it has regularly provided around a third of the nominees and had played a part in making chief executive Richard Scudamore’s job of selling lucrative international broadcasting rights relatively simple.

Scuadmore has delighted in billing the Premier League as the best in the world but that claim looks more spurious in light of this year’s nominations.

The complete lack of English players is also of concern, but some crumbs of comfort can be found in the nominees for the Coach of the Year award, where Sir Alex Ferguson, Arsene Wenger and Carlo Ancelotti represent the Premier League.