The Ballon d’Or will not be awarded this year due to the conditions created by the coronavirus pandemic, the organisers, France Football announced on Monday.
“There will be no edition in 2020, because it turns out, after thoughtful consideration, that all the conditions are not met,” said Pascal Ferré, the editor of France Football.
“Because such a unique year cannot – and should not – be treated as an ordinary year. When in doubt, it is better to abstain than to persist,” Ferré said.
“Becuase the Ballon d’Or conveys values other than sporting excellence alone, such as setting an example, solidarity and responsibility.
“Because the fairness that is so important for this award could not be preserved, in particular at the statistical level and also in preparation since all those aspiring to the award could not be housed in the same boat, some having seen their season cut radically short, others not. So how can we compare the incomparable?
“Because we did not want to put an indelible asterisk on such as ‘ trophy won in exceptional circumstances due to the Covid-19 health crisis’. We will always prefer a small sprain on our history rather than a large scar.
“This is the first time since 1956 that the Ballon d’Or has taken a break.
“This parenthesis does not please us but seems to us the most responsible and logical choice. Protecting the credibility and legitimacy of such an award also means ensuring its flawlessness over time.
“We cannot bring ourselves to rely on crippled seasons, with so many special arrangements, to decide on the best. The best of what, by the way? It would not be worthy of our history.
“Because of our approximately 220 jurors (men and women combined) distributed around the world, some may have been distracted or diverted from their observation mission due to other priorities and emergencies to manage.
“Because the history of the Ballon d’Or is too precious to take the risk of damaging it.
“In these turbulent times, taking a break is a luxury and an invaluable necessity,” he said.
The Ballon d’Or has been given out every year since Stanley Matthews won the first one in 1956. Lionel Messi has won it a record six times, with arch-rival Christiano Ronaldo winning five.
The magazine started giving out a women’s award in 2018, but that has also been put on hold.