'It was a tick box' - Arsenal star Beth Mead SLAMS Ballon d'Or awards for women's football treatment
- Mead on the podium for The Best & Ballon d'Or
- Says she preferred attending the former
- Felt like a 'tick box' at Ballon d'Or ceremony
WHAT HAPPENED? Barcelona's Alexia Putellas pipped Mead to one of the top individual honours in world football at the end of last year, with Chelsea forward Sam Kerr completing the podium. However, Mead has since revealed that she felt the women's game had been disrespected by those who organised the ceremony.
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WHAT THEY SAID: Mead, who also finished third in The Best FIFA voting, told the Boots, Balls and Bras podcast: "It was an honour to go to both. Much preferred the Best Awards, I thought the Ballon d'Or was a token Ballon d’Or for women's football - and that’s all it was. The set up wasn’t great. Alexia went up, they asked her a couple of question and off she went.
"In between that they did Lewandowski top scorer, goalkeeper of the year - no female goalkeeper of the year - and a community award. They did three of four awards between the female Ballon d'Or and the men's Ballon d'Or. And the at the end it was Benzema who won, his full family was on stage taking pictures with him, all the journalists, and Alexia was sat on the front seat as if she wasn’t even there.
"It’s such a prestigious award [Ballon d'Or] , but then, it was a tick box to have women there but they weren’t doing it right. The FIFA Best, they did everything aligned. They did it all together so it was so much better."
THE BIGGER PICTURE: Mead's criticism echoes the sentiments of her partner and Arsenal team-mate Vivianne Miedema. The all-time top WSL scorer was incorrectly labelled as Mead's "guest" in a pre-ceremony photo, and after the event admitted she didn't feel "appreciated".
AND WHAT'S MORE: Despite being snubbed for two individual prizes, Mead was named BBC Sports Personality of the Year thanks to her starring role in England's Euro 2022 triumph. There have been personal struggles in recent times too, though. As well as being ruled out of action with an ACL injury, Mead also lost her mother June in January 2023.
IN TWO PHOTOS:
WHAT NEXT FOR MEAD? She will be doing everything she can to return in time for the Women's World Cup this summer, although England boss Sarina Wiegman admitted recently that a "miracle" is required for that to happen. At club level, Mead will be in the stands as Arsenal look to progress to the Champions League semi-finals by overturning a 1-0 first-leg deficit against Bayern Munich at the Emirates Stadium on Wednesday night.