COVID-19 stops 2020 Ballon d'Or

Lionel Lionel Messi displaying his 6 Ballon d'or

Ballon d'Or has been cancelled for the first time in 64 years due to the COVID-19 pandemic that did not allow a free flow of football across the world. This means that the reigning recipients of the football award would not have successors this year. 

While announcing that the prestigious Ballon d'Or has been cancelled, Pascal Ferré, the editor-in-chief of France Football magazine, the owners of the award, said that the stakeholders of the annual football award decided to cancel it because there was "lack of sufficient fair conditions".

Barcelona icon, Lionel Messi won the last edition of the men's category While American football icon, Megan Rapinoe, won the last women's category of the Paris based football award. 

Juventus' Cristiano Ronaldo who has won the award 5 times and his career rival, Messi who has won the award a record 6 times, are the most nominated footballers of the award. They have been nominated a record 12 times each, winning eleven out of the last 12 editions. 

Pascal Ferré said: “For the first time in its history, which began in 1956, the Ballon d'Or will not be awarded in 2020, due to the lack of sufficient fair conditions. 

“Messi and Rapinoe (as well as [Mattijs] de Ligt and Alisson, winners of the Kopa and Yachine Trophies [for young player and goalkeeper]) will have to wait a year. The winners of the last edition will have no successors at the end of the year. Because there will be no Ballon d'Or 2020 edition.

"Why? Because such a singular year cannot - and should not - be treated as an ordinary year. When in doubt, it is better to abstain than to persist.

“Because the Ballon d'Or trophy conveys other values - like exemplarity, solidarity and responsibility - rather than merely sporting excellence alone.

“Because the fairness that prevails for this honorary title could not be preserved, in particular at the statistical level and also in the preparation since all the aspirants to the award could not be rightly compared, some having seen their season cut radically short, others not. So how can we compare the incomparable?

"Because of our approximately 220 jurors (men and women combined) distributed around the world, some may have been distracted or diverted from their observation due to other priorities and emergencies to manage.

“We did not want to put an indelible asterisk on the prize like “trophy won in exceptional circumstances due to the Covid-19 health crisis”. We will always prefer a small sprain to our history to a large scar.

"This is the first time since 1956 that the Ballon d'Or has taken a break. The situation does not enchant us but seems to us the most responsible and logical decision. Protecting the credibility and legitimacy of such an award also means protecting it over time.

"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, passion and emotion.”

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