There will be no Ballon d'Or awarded in 2020 due to a "lack of sufficient fair conditions", France Football has announced.
The French publication, which organizes football's most prestigious individual prize, believes the effects of the coronavirus pandemic upon the sport at the elite level means it would be unfair to declare a 2020 winner.
In a list of reasons published to explain the decision, France Football said it "did not want to put an indelible asterisk" on the trophy due to present circumstances, adding "we will always prefer a small sprain (to our history) to a large scar".
À circonstances exceptionnelles, dispositions exceptionnelles. Pour la première fois de son histoire, débutée en 1956, le #Ballondor France Football ne sera pas attribué en 2020, faute de conditions équitables suffisantes.— France Football (@francefootball) July 20, 2020
Nos explications sur ce choix : https://t.co/LgRr8GCuKD pic.twitter.com/Z1x3L3QBGV
It will be the first time since the Ballon d'Or launched in 1956 that its ballot to decide the finest player in the world will not be taken.
Football across the world shut down in March as COVID-19 spread rapidly.
Although the Premier League, LaLiga, Serie A and the Bundesliga have all since returned behind closed doors, Ligue 1 was one of the competitions to cancel its 2019-20 schedule.
"A singular year cannot - and should not - be treated as an ordinary year. When in doubt, it is better to abstain than to persist," France Football said.
"The fairness that prevails for this honorary title could not be preserved, in particular at the statistical level and also in terms of preparation since all the aspirants to the award could not be housed in the same boat, some having seen their season cut off radically, others not. So how do you compare the incomparable?"
The statement concluded: "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. So that football, as a whole, regains momentum and passion and emotion."