Ballon d’Or cancelled for first time since 1956 over COVID-19/ Messi

Organisers of the 2020 edition of Ballon d'Or, an annual award by France Football, have announced cancellation of the event over the raging impact of the coronavirus pandemic across the globe.

The organisers, in a statement on Monday, said the award would not the handed out this year due to lack of fair conditions.

The statement read: “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.

“Messi and Rapinoe (as well as De Ligt and Alisson, winners of the Kopa and Yachine Trophies) will have to wait a year. The winners of the last edition of the BO 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.

“This is the first time since 1956 that the Ballon d’Or has taken a break. The situation does not enchant us but seems to us the most responsible and logical decision. Protecting the credibility and legitimacy of such an award also means protecting it over time.

“The Ballon d’Or story is too precious to take the risk of damaging it with a wobbly exercise. In these turbulent times, taking a break is a luxury and an invaluable necessity. So that football, as a whole, regains momentum, passion and emotion.”

This makes it the first time the award would be cancelled since its inception in 1956.

Argentine and Barcelona's ace, Lionel Messi, has won the prestigious prize for six times -- the highest in history -- followed by his Portugal counterpart, Cristiano Ronaldo who had won it five times.