World’s most prestigious football award, Ballon d’Or winners will not be announced this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Ballon d’Or, awarded by France Football magazine has been given out every year since Stanley Matthews won the first one in 1956.
Barcelona and Argentine playmaker, Lionel Messi, has won it a record six times than any player. His arch-rival, Cristiano Ronaldo has won it five times.
A statement from France Football reads: “For the first time since 1956, the Ballon d’Or will take a break. There will be no edition in 2020, because it turns out, after thoughtful consideration, that all the conditions are not met. We believe that such a singular year cannot -and should not- be treated as an ordinary one.
“From a sports perspective, 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 unordinary conditions (behind closed doors, with five replacements, Champions League’s Final 8 played in a single game).
“Finally, the equity that prevails for this honorary title will not be warranted, especially when it comes to accounting and preparation: all the award seekers will not be in the same boat, some having seen their season cut short. Therefore, how can we establish a fair comparison? To avoid overly convoluted calculations and projections, we chose the least bad of the options.
“This decision, which was taken of course with all the Group stakeholders, does not delight us but it seems to be the most responsible one. Protecting the credibility and legitimacy of such an award also means ensuring its flawlessness over time.
“The Ballon d’Or will gather again the football big family and enthusiasts in 2021, to relive the happiness that surrounds the ceremonies as we have experienced them in recent years.”
This year will mark the first time the football’s most coveted individual prize will not be handed out.