Ballon d'Or will not be awarded in 2020 for first time in history due to COVID-19

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For the first time in its 64-year history, the Ballon d’Or will not be awarded in 2020 due to the impact the COVID-19 pandemic had on the soccer world.

France Football and organizer Group L’Équipe, which has given the annual award to the best male soccer star since 1956, announced the decision Monday. The award ceremony is in December.

“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,” editor-in-chief of France Football Pascal Ferre said in a statement.

Barcelona’s Lionel Messi is the reigning winner and has traded victories with Cristiano Ronaldo over the past decade-plus. The first Ballon d'Or Féminin was awarded in 2018 to Olympique Lyonnais' Ada Hegerberg. OL Reign and U.S. women’s national team star Megan Rapinoe won it last year.

The award was canceled due to a hiatus in the calendar’s schedule caused by the pandemic.

“From a sports perspective, two months (January and February), out of the 11 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 eight 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.”

The group wrote the decision “does not delight us” but is the “most responsible one.” The organizers will instead designate 11 players at the end of the year as an all-star team called the “Dream Team.”

In a standard year there are four Ballon d’Or winners consisting of the best overall male and female players, the Kopa Trophy for best player under the age of 21 and the Yashin Trophy for the best goalkeeper.

The Ballon d'Or, won six times by Lionel Messi, will not be awarded in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. (REUTERS/Michael Buholzer)
The Ballon d'Or, won six times by Lionel Messi, will not be awarded in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. (REUTERS/Michael Buholzer)

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