The FIFA World Player Gala on Monday 12 January 1998 will be bigger than any of its six predecessors and, for the first time, will involve star players of the past as well as the present.

The official FIFA evening at Disneyland Paris will include not only the world’s top players of the past twelve months, but also ten of the greatest of all time, as the event features the first inductions into the International Football Hall of Champions, presented by FIFA.

The 90-minute show will be screened live by Eurosport, with further TV coverage in other countries.

Voting is now closing for the FIFA World Player 1997, with nearly 120 national team coaches having submitted their opinions in this year’s poll. Among the leading candidates are Holland’s Dennis Bergkamp, Brazilian Roberto Carlos, Raul of Spain, last year’s winner, Ronaldo, and Frenchman Zinedine Zidane.

Previous winners, apart from Ronaldo, have included Lothar Matthäus, Marco Van Basten, Roberto Baggio, Romario and George Weah.

This year’s top trio will share the stage with Hall inductees such as Franz Beckenbauer, Bobby Charlton, Michel Platini and Pelé –as well as the top coaches, referees, football pioneers, journalists and representatives from the leading club and national teams.

The annual FIFA awards will also include the year’s Fair Play prize, the Team of the Year and the Most Improved Team of the Year. The definitive list of finalists will be made known on 8 December 1997.