Ballon d'Or Canceled for the First Time in the Award's History Due to Coronavirus Pandemic

The Ballon d'Or has been awarded to the best soccer player of the year since 1956

Ballon d'Or
Lionel Messi. Photo: LLUIS GENE/AFP via Getty

The Ballon d’Or will not be awarded for the first time in its 64-year history due to the coronavirus pandemic's impact on the soccer world.

The prestigious award has been given out each year in December since 1956. Last year, Barcelona's Lionel Messi took home the trophy, while U.S. women's national team captain Megan Rapinoe was awarded the female-only award Ballon d'Or Feminin.

France Football and organizer Group L’Équipe announced this year's cancellation in a statement on Monday.

"For the first time since 1956, the Ballon d’Or will take a break, 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.

The group went on to say that the decision "does not delight us” but is the “most responsible one.”

Instead of awarding the usual individual trophies this year, a "Dream Team" of 11 players will be announced at the end of the year, chosen by the usual Ballon d'Or jury.

Ballon d'Or
Ballon d'Or. Philipp Schmidli/Getty

In a typical year there are four Ballon d’Or winners: the best overall male and female players, the Kopa Trophy for best player under the age of 21 and the Yashin Trophy for the best goalkeeper.

Messi, 33, has the most Ballon d’Or wins with six, followed by Cristiano Ronaldo at five. They are tied with the most nominations at 12 each.

The Ballon d'Or Feminin was conceived in 2018 for the best female player of the year. Norway's Ada Hegerberg won the first award, followed by Rapinoe, 35, last year.

As information about the coronavirus pandemic rapidly changes, PEOPLE is committed to providing the most recent data in our coverage. Some of the information in this story may have changed after publication. For the latest on COVID-19, readers are encouraged to use online resources from CDC, WHO, and local public health departments. To help provide doctors and nurses on the front lines with life-saving medical resources, donate to Direct Relief here.

Related Articles