THE Ballon d’Or will not be awarded in 2020. Such was the message passed down by France Football to the football world on Monday afternoon citing the highest individual accolade in the sport will be withheld following a coronavirus-impacted season.
A statement released read: “In exceptional circumstances, exceptional provisions [must be considered]. For the first time in its history, which began in 1956, the Ballon d’Or France Football will not be awarded in 2020, for lack of sufficient fair conditions.”
Adding to the reasons stated in the official statement, editor of the magazine, Pascal Ferre, said: “There will be no edition in 2020 because it turns out, after thoughtful consideration, that all the conditions are not met.” All major football leagues across Europe and beyond went into shut down in March, some on an indefinite basis, with the Bundesliga the first to resume in May, albeit behind closed doors.
France Football, in its statement, added it would be unfair to vote on the world’s best player when some leagues, including the Ligue 1 season, was nullified early and Paris Saint-Germain crowned season winners. In his own assessment, Ferre suggested it would not be right to judge players based on games played without spectators present. “We believe that such a singular year cannot be treated as an ordinary year,” he said.
“Two months (January and February), out of the eleven generally required to form an opinion and decide who should lift the trophies, represent far too little to gauge and judge, without forgetting that the other games were played –- or will be played –- in unusual conditions.” The women’s Ballon d’Or, which was first awarded in 2018, has also been cancelled, as have the Kepa Trophy, given to the best young player, and the Yashin Award for best goalkeeper.
France Football, however, indicated it was looking forward to holding a ceremony in 2021 with this year, instead, dedicated to organising a vote for the all-time greatest men’s XI. Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi, who won a record-breaking sixth Ballon d’Or last year, has effectively lost out on the chance to add to his haul in 2020.