Heartbreak As France Cancels 2020 Ballon D’or
The Ballon d’Or which is usually awarded annually to the world’s best footballer, will not be held in 2020 due to the “lack of a sufficiently level playing field” caused by the coronavirus pandemic.Barcelona’s Lionel Messi won the trophy in the men’s category last year, while US striker Megan Rapinoe won the women’s category.
Organizers France Football said the awarding of the prize, which has been given out every year since 1956, would be “not worthy” of the trophy’s history. The organizers added: “We did not want to put an indelible asterisk on the prize list as ‘a trophy won in exceptional circumstances due to the health crisis of Covid-19’.”Protecting the credibility and legitimacy of such a prize also means guaranteeing its irreproachability over time.”
England’s Stanley Matthews was the first winner of the award when he was voted European Footballer of the Year. Until 1995, the Ballon d’Or was only awarded to European players, when it was extended to any player from a European club. From 2007, it was extended to footballers from the rest of the world. The list of the 30 nominated players is drawn up by the editorial staff of the French magazine. The winner is chosen by journalists from all over the world, with one representative from each nation.
The decision to cancel it was taken by France Football editor Pascal Ferré. “In such a unique year we can’t treat it as an ordinary one,” Ferré said:
“The season started with certain rules and ended with other rules. In January and February, soccer was played in front of full stands. Then from May and June it was with empty stands. Two months, January and February are not enough to analyse, evaluate and make a judgment. The introduction of five substitutes and the Champions League finals format also play a part [in the decision]. The Ballon d’Or would have been decided over three games: quarterfinal, semifinal and final.”
The Women’s Ballon d’Or, which was inaugurated in 2018, has also been cancelled along with the Kopa award for the best young player and the Yashin award for the best keeper. In place of the individual awards a best XI of the season will be named as well Top of Form.