The Ballon d’Or will not be awarded in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the award organisers Group L’Equipe have confirmed.
The prestigious Golden Ball has been handed out to the best player on the planet since 1956, but there would be no winner this year.
The decision to suspend the award for a year comes after consultation with the group stakeholders, who decided that the conditions under which the award is usually handed out could not be met this year.
Near worldwide stoppages because of the coronavirus have led organisers to determine that a cancellation is the fairest outcome.
“As the organiser of the Ballon d’Or, the Group L’Equipe, to which France Football belongs, decided not to award the most prestigious individual trophy there is in 2020,” a statement said.
Pascal Ferré, editor-in-chief of France Football, added: “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.
“From a sports perspective, two months (January and February), out of the 11 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 played in a single game).”
That means 2019 winner Messi will keep his crown for another 12 months. The Barcelona superstar has six Ballons d’Or to his name, with rival Cristiano Ronaldo of Juventus boasting five.