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Ballon D'Or won't be awarded for 2020

Organisers have cited the disruption caused by the Covid-19 shutdown in cancelling the award for the first time.

Lionel Messi with last year's Ballon D'Or award.
Lionel Messi with last year's Ballon D'Or award.
Image: Xinhua News Agency/PA Images

THE PRESTIGIOUS BALLON D’Or award will not be presented this year, organisers France Football have announced. 

It is the first time the award won’t be presented since its inception in 1956. 

France Football say the disruption wrought across the game by the Covid-19 shutdown means the award can’t be judged on an equitable basis. 

“There will be no edition in 2020, because it turns out, after thoughtful consideration, that all the conditions are not met”, said Pascal Ferré, editor-in-chief of France Football. 

We believe that such a singular year cannot -and should not- be treated as an ordinary one.” 

Ferré says the relative normality of games played in January and February is too small a sample size, and says potential award winners are not in the same boat as many have played a different number of games owing to league shutdowns. Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo will complete their respective domestic seasons, for example, whereas Neymar and Kylian M’bappé have seen their league season in France curtailed. 

The magazine also points to the fact the Champions League – the most significant barometer for the award in years without a major international tournament – has been reformatted to include single-leg games from the quarter-final stage onwards. 

“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”, said Ferré. 

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The Ballon D’Or is organised by France Football, having spent a few years incorprated as Fifa’s official prize for the world’s best player. That partnership ended in 2016, and Fifa now crown their own player separately. 

France Football have also cancelled the women’s Ballon D’Or and the Kopa and Yachine  awards, handed out to for best young player and best goalkeeper in the men’s game.

The awards will be replaced this year by a vote for an all-time world football XI. 

Lionel Messi won last year’s award ahead of Virgil van Dijk, and his six wins are more than anyone else in the award’s history. Cristiano Ronaldo is closest with five, while Johan Cruyff, Marco van Basten and Michel Platini have each won the award thrice. 

No Republic of Ireland international has ever won the award. 

About the author:

Gavin Cooney

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