This is the headline that has shocked and annoyed a lion’s share of the football community worldwide. FIFA Balon D’Or is a French annual award which is the oldest and most prestigious individual award in the footballing arena. It has been used by many to determine which football stars outperform the rest of the bunch in a full season.
This decision was done due to the coronavirus outbreak which led to pausing of a number of football leagues in the world, and the premature ending of several others.
Some football fans are outraged and have seen this as an unfair decision by France Football, a French news magazine that is in charge of handing out the award each year while others have gone ahead to suggest this was entirely based on the fact that the French league was not continued but instead ended prematurely unlike the situation of other top European leagues that resumed matches till the very end.
“There will be no edition in 2020, because it turns out, after thoughtful consideration, that all the conditions are not met,” Pascal Ferre, editor-in-chief of France Football, said in a statement.
“We believe that such a singular year cannot -and should not- be treated as an ordinary one.
“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; 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 8 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.
“This decision, which was taken of course with all the Group stakeholders, does not delight us but it seems to be the most responsible one. Protecting the credibility and legitimacy of such an award also means ensuring its flawlessness over time.
“The Ballon d’Or will gather again the football big family and enthusiasts in 2021, to relive the happiness that surrounds the ceremonies as we have experienced them in recent years.”
France Football announced earlier today that the Ballon d’Or will not be awarded in 2020
Lionel Messi, the current FIFA Balon D’or holder was poised to win the award again for the seventh time after a stellar season performance of 25 league goals and 21 league assists despite an underwhelming La Liga campaign by his Spanish club Barcelona.
His arch-rival Cristiano Ronaldo, a 5-time winner of this same award, has also been mentioned in the race for this award despite not producing the impressive statistics for Juventus his fans had become accustomed to.
Another name which is being highly regarded for this award is the 31-year-old Bayern Munich striker, Robert Lewandowski who has had an amazing campaign after netting 62 goals this season in all competitions. He also has a chance to increase this tally as he prepares to continue the Champions League campaign with the current Bundesliga champions.
This is not the first time the French award has involved controversy as many have seen their stars fail to win the award even in their prime season. But this will be the first time the award has not been awarded in history since 1956.
In 2007, the Balon D’or award was merged with a similar award, the FIFA World’s Player to cement it’s worldwide claim and became the FIFA Balon D’Or award. The award has, however, shown a lot of bias towards forward attacking players and it has gradually increased throughout the years.
Author: Alvin Musiime
Alvin is a sports writer and a big fan of anything that involves the sports scene. He finds joy in keeping everyone updated about the daily ins and outs of sports.