There will be no Ballon d’Or awarded in 2020 due to a “lack of sufficient fair conditions”, organizers from France Football announced on Monday.
The French publication, which organises football’s most prestigious individual prize, believes the effects of the coronavirus pandemic upon football at the elite level means it would not be fair to vote for this year’s winner, for example where French Ligue 1 had cancelled their season earlier than the rest.
In a list of reasons published to explain the decision, France Football said it “did not want to put an indelible asterisk” upon the trophy due to current conditions, adding “we will always prefer a small sprain (to our history) to a large scar”.
“There will be no edition in 2020, because it turns out, after thoughtful consideration, that all the conditions are not met,” said Pascal Ferre, the editor of the magazine.
This makes it the first time the trophy given for the world’s best men’s footballer has not been awarded since Englishman Stanley Matthews won the inaugural edition in 1956.
Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi claimed the top prize for a record sixth time in 2019, with United States forward Megan Rapinoe lifting the Ballon d’Or Feminin. Look at our latest Torino vs. Verona football matches prediction
Football across the world shut down last March as the coronavirus had spread rapidly day by day.
Although English Premier League, La Liga, Serie A, and Bundesliga have all since returned behind closed doors, Ligue 1 was one of the competitions to cancel its 2019-20 schedule.
“A singular year cannot – and should not – be treated as an ordinary year. When in doubt, it is better to abstain than to persist,” France Football said.
“The fairness that prevails for this honorary title could not be preserved, in particular at the statistical level and also in terms of preparation since all the aspirants to the award could not be housed in the same boat, some having seen their season cut off radically, others not. So how do you compare the incomparable?”
The statement concluded: “The Ballon d’Or story is too precious to take the risk of damaging it with a wobbly exercise. In these turbulent times, taking a break is a luxury and an invaluable necessity. So that football, as a whole, regains momentum and passion and emotion.”