For the first time since 1956, The Ballon d’Or award ceremony will not be held this year, due to the sudden break caused by the sudden outbreak of the novel Covid 19 Pandemic, that rendered the whole world to a standstill, and government all around issued Lock Down orders on its citizens.
The Ballon d’Or Award which is given out annually by the France Football Magazine, has been giving out recognition to the best male footballers since 1956, with England’s Stanley Matthews being its first winner, Women also started receiving the award in 2018 with Norway’s Ada Hegerberg being the first woman to be recognized.
France Football Editor Pascal Ferrş said in an interview,
“It isn’t a decision we took lightly but we had to accept it couldn’t be a normal or typical Ballon d’Or winner, and what really worried us is that it wouldn’t be fairly awarded.”
Because the game’s rules have been modified during the pandemic, the award itself was impacted. “The season started with certain rules and ended with other rules. In January and February, soccer was played in front of full stands. Then from May and June it was with empty stands,” Ferrş said.
“Then we had the five substitutes rule and not three. Then other changes happened in terms of the competitions, notably the final eight (eight-team knockout format) for the Champions League when it had started with home and away legs.”
With the Euro 2020 and the Copa America postponed this year, the Champions League would have massively weighed on the award’s outcome but with a format inadvertently providing a shortcut for an eventual victor.
“The Ballon d’Or would have been decided over just three games- quarterfinal, semifinal, final,” Ferrş said. “There were loads of changes (to football’s rules) which are totally legitimate and which we don’t contest given the worldwide health crisis, but we couldn’t consider this as a typical year. Exceptional circumstances led to an exceptional decision.”
“It would be less of a problem in terms of fairness, because this time around we’ve had two parts to the season- normal and not normal,” Ferrş said. “Imagine that in 2021 all matches are played behind closed doors (without fans) and with five subs. We would adapt, because it would be comparable.”
Barcelona and Argentine Striker Lionel Messi is the most decorated player in the history of the Ballon d’Or winning it 6 times, Juventus and Portuguese Striker Cristiano Ronaldo comes second with 5 Ballon d’Or wins.