(Paris) The Ballon d'Or, the most prestigious individual award in football, will not be awarded in 2020 due to a season disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic, the weekly France Football announced it on Monday.
“For the first time since 1956, the Ballon’Or will take a hiatus. There will be no 2020 edition, as it turns out, after reflection, that not all the conditions are right. We believe that such a singular year cannot and should not be treated as an ordinary year, "said the editor-in-chief of the journal, Pascal Ferré, in a press release.
Argentina’s Lionel Messi and American Megan Rapinoe, crowned in 2019, will therefore have no successors this year.
The Kopa trophies, crowning the best youngster under 21 (awarded in 2019 to the Dutchman Matthijs de Ligt), and Yachine, rewarding the best goalkeeper (won in 2019 by the Brazilian Alisson Becker), will not be awarded either.
"Not in the same boat"
France Football justifies this decision by "the equity which prevails for this honorary title (which) could not be preserved, in particular at the statistical level and also of the preparation since all the aspirants with the reward could not be accommodated in the same sign" .
The COVID-19 pandemic forced all major soccer championships to stop for several months, and resulted in the postponement of Euro 2020 to 2021.
Some championships have resumed behind closed doors, like in Germany, Spain, England or Italy, others like French Ligue 1 where almost all the women's championships have been definitively stopped.
In Europe, the Champions League and the Europa League must they resume in August with the knockout stages behind closed doors and then a final eight-way tournament ("Final 8") without round-trip matches in Lisbon.
"We did not wish to affix an indelible asterisk like" trophy won in exceptional circumstances due to the COVID-19 health crisis "to the prize list. We will always prefer a small sprain (to our history) to a big scar, ”argues France Football.
The magazine will instead nominate an ideal eleven of the best players of all time, following a vote by the usual Ballon d'Or jury.