Football’s 2020 Ballon d’Or Award Cancelled

By Ben Hamill - July 21 2020

Football’s 2020 Ballon d’Or Award Cancelled

Football’s prestigious annual Ballon d’Or award is the latest big event to have been cancelled as a result of the disruptions caused by the ongoing global health crisis. Awarded every year for the past 64 years by France Football magazine, this year will be the first year the award isn’t handed out ever since Stanley Matthews walked away with the magazine’s debut award in 1956.

Some big names won the prestigious award, with star footballer Lionel Messi having walked away with the award no fewer than a record six times. Long-time rival Cristiano Ronaldo won the Ballon d’Or award a total of five times.

The famous football magazine in 2018 gave away the very first Ballon d’Or women’s award. This leg of the proceedings has however also been put on hold, and for the same reason as the men’s award.

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Cancellation Wasn’t Easy

According to editor Pascal Ferre, cancelling the 2020 instalment of the award was not a decision taken lightly. But because of the actual rules of football (soccer) having been altered by the current situation, it would not have been viable to even try and determine who best deserved receiving the accolade this year, said Ferre. A “strange” year, said the editor, had prompted the unconventional decision on the part of the magazine.

Changes included different rules being played in May and June as opposed to those played in January and February. What’s more, the first two months of the year saw game played in front of fully populated stands. May and June, however, painted an entirely different picture altogether, with empty stands suddenly having been the new norm.

Three Games Not Enough

The eventual outcome, had the award been given out regardless this year, would have been that of a decision based on only three games: a quarter-final game, semi-final game, and final game. As such, 2020, said Ferre, cannot be considered a typical year for football. The changes may have been unavoidable given the circumstances, but that would not have justified giving out an award based on only three games effectively played.

But the Ballon d’Or isn’t the only major award to have been affected by the crisis. Another award cancelled this year is the prestigious Kopa Trophy – an award each year given to the best under-21 player. And then, there’s also the cancelled Lev Yashin award. The Lev Shevin each year honours the best-performing goalkeeper for that year.

The cancellation of the 2020 Ballon d’Or wasn’t revealed to players beforehand.