France Football has decided against handing out the 2020 Ballon d’Or award in the light of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
Considered as the highest of all individual honor in world football, the Ballon d’Or, or the Golden Ball, is awarded to the best player performing player each year.
In 1956, Stanley Matthews became the first recipient of the prestigious award, which was then known as the European Footballer of the Year award, and it has continued to be handed out every year since then.
However, it has been decided by France Football magazine that the award will not be awarded for this calendar year due to the ‘lack of sufficient fair conditions’ amid the COVID-19 crisis.
A statement on France Football’s official website 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.
“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”.
“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.”
Bayern Munich’s Robert Lewandowski, who reached the 50-goal mark this season, too had a strong case to win the award, along with Paris Saint Germain’s Kylian Mbappe and Manchester City’s Kevin De Bruyne.