Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 22 October 2020

Ballon d'Or will not be awarded in 2020 due to coronavirus

Editor of France Football magazine says criteria for this year's award 'not met'

The Ballon d'Or will not be awarded this year due to the extraordinary conditions created by the coronavirus pandemic, 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 Ferre, the editor of the magazine.

The prestigious award, voted for by journalists, is an annual prize given to the best male footballer in the world since 1956. The women's Ballon d'Or was first awarded in 2018.

The 2019/20 season has been ravaged by the pandemic, with all the major European leagues suspending matches from March to June.

International tournaments, such as the European Championship and Copa America, were also pushed back to 2021 due to the virus.

"From a sports perspective, two months [January and February], out of the eleven generally required to form an opinion and decide who should lift the trophies, represent far too little to gauge and judge," Ferre added.

"... Without forgetting that the other games were played – or will be played – in extraordinary conditions [behind closed doors, with five replacements]."

The final stages of the Champions League, from the quarter-finals, have also been rescheduled as a mini-tournament featuring single leg matches behind closed doors in Portugal next month.

Barcelona's Argentina forward Lionel Messi has won the men's award a record six times - one more than long-time rival Cristiano Ronaldo.

To fill the void left by the annual ceremony, France Football magazine's jury of 180 will elect an all-time 'Dream Team' at the end of the year.

Updated: July 20, 2020 05:25 PM

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