France Football announce cancellation of 2020 Ballon d’Or.
The 2020 Ballon d’Or has been cancelled. The prestigious award from France Football, which is handed out annually to the world’s best player of each calendar year, has been called off for this year, the magazine’s editor-in-chief Pascal Ferré announced.
This will be the first time since 1956 that the prize will not be awarded. Instead, the reigning Ballon d’Or holder and six-time winner Lionel Messi will keep ahold of this accolade until next year, which will come as a huge blow to certain players aiming to get their hands on this silverware.
This begs the question: why was the 2020 Ballon d’Or cancelled? As per France Football’s official statement via L’Equipe, “lack of sufficient fair conditions” is the main motive behind this decision. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, football is being played under special circumstances, with the likes of Ligue 1 and the Eredivisie being forced into a premature ending.
On top of that, Ferré also pointed out that it would be difficult for France Football’s jurors to pick a player most deserving of this prize as “some may have been distracted or diverted from their observation due to other priorities and emergencies to manage”.
“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,” France Football’s statement read.
“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 list 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.”
As mentioned above, Megan Rapinoe, having won the Ballon d’Or Féminin, will retain the award while De Ligt and Alisson will keep ahold of the Kopa and Yachine Trophies until next year. While this decision is understandable, it comes as bad news to certain players, namely Robert Lewandowski. The Polish striker, who could win the European Golden Boot and a treble this season, was tipped as the favorite to win the prize.