BBC launch Women’s Footballer of the Year award

Public to vote for the best female footballer ahead of the 2015 Women's World Cup in Canada

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The BBC have launched the first Women’s Footballer of the Year award ahead of this summer’s World Cup in Canada.

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A panel of experts will announce a shortlist of five of the world’s best female footballers on 26th April, before the winner is decided by a public vote.

The winner will be announced in late May, ahead of the start of the 2015 Fifa Women’s World Cup on 6th June.

Canada is preparing to host the tournament, the third time it has been held in North America. England has never made it past the quarter finals, but won all their matches during their qualifying campaign.

The BBC will show every match of the Women’s World Cup on either BBC2, BBC3 or the red button, culminating with the final on 5th July.

The launch of the award comes after Ireland’s Stephanie Roche reached the final three of Fifa’s Puskas Award for Goal of the Year.

The 25-year-old, who scored her goal while playing for Irish side Peamount United, was also up against men’s World Cup goals from Robin van Persie and eventual winner James Rodriguez.

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Roche has since proved that the strike was not a one-off, scoring from the edge of the area with a looping volley while playing for the Republic of Ireland against Costa Rica.