The Ballon d’Or has been cancelled for the first time in the award’s history due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the football calendar.
Organisers of the award, Group L’Equipe, announced in a statement on Monday that the conditions for the prize to take place had not been met.
“There will be no edition in 2020, because it turns out, after thoughtful consideration, that all the conditions are not met. We believe that such a singular year cannot — and should not — be treated as an ordinary one,” editor-in-chief of France Football Pascal Ferre said in a statement.
“From a sports perspective, two months (January and February), out of the 11 generally required to form an opinion and decide who should lift the trophies, represent far too little to gauge and judge; without forgetting that the other games were played — or will be played — in unordinary conditions (behind closed doors, with five replacements, Champions League’s Final eight played in a single game).
“Finally, the equity that prevails for this honorary title will not be warranted, especially when it comes to accounting and preparation: all the award seekers will not be in the same boat, some having seen their season cut short. Therefore, how can we establish a fair comparison? To avoid overly convoluted calculations and projections, we chose the least bad of the options.”
Instead of awarding the usual four individual trophies, the organisation will announce a “Dream Team” at the end of the year. Eleven players will feature and will be chosen by the usual Ballon d’Or jury.
Each of the 180 juries will choose 11 players and the players with the most votes will make the final team.
The award was created in 1956 and is the most prestigious individual trophy in football. In 2018 it added the Ballon d’Or Feminin to reward the best football player in the women’s game.
Alongside the Ballon d’Or, the organisation also gives an award to the best young player and the best goalkeeper.
The Ballon d’Or is presided over by France Football, having been a FIFA award from 2010 to 2015. However, the two companies then split and football’s governing body created the FIFA The Best award, which has run parallel to the Ballon d’Or since 2016.