RESENDING WITH COMPLETE SCRIPT
VIDEO SHOWS: FILE FOOTAGE OF LIONEL MESSI AND CRISTIANO RONALDO AT BALLON D'OR CEREMONIES
PARIS, FRANCE (FILE - DECEMBER 2, 2019) (REUTERS- ACCESS ALL)
1. ARGENTINE FOOTBALLER, LIONEL MESSI HOLDING BALLON D'OR WHILE SPEAKING TO MEDIA
2. MESSI SPEAKING TO MEDIA
3. MESSI BEING INTERVIEWED / MESSI WALKING AWAY
PARIS, FRANCE (FILE - DECEMBER 7, 2017) (REUTERS - ACCESS ALL)
4. PORTUGUESE FOOTBALLER, CRISTIANO RONALDO WALKING INTO VENUE FOR BALLON D'OR
5. RONALDO INSIDE VENUE
6. RONALDO BEING INTERVIEWED
7. RONALDO WALKING AWAY
STORY: The Ballon d'Or will not be awarded this year for the first time in its 64-year history after the COVID-19 pandemic wreaked havoc on the soccer calendar, organisers France Football magazine said on Monday (July 20).
The prestigious Ballon d'Or, voted for by journalists and organised by French magazine France Football, is an annual prize awarded to the best male footballer in the world since 1956. The women's Ballon d'Or was first awarded in 2018.
The 2019-20 season has been ravaged by the pandemic, with all the major European leagues suspending matches from March to June.
"From a sports perspective, two months (January and February), out of the eleven generally required to form an opinion and decide who should lift the trophies, represent far too little to gauge and judge," Pascal Ferre, editor-in-chief of France Football, said in a statement.
"... Without forgetting that the other games were played - or will be played - in extraordinary conditions (behind closed doors, with five replacements)."
The final stages of the Champions League, from the quarter-finals onwards, have also been rescheduled as a mini-tournament in Portugal next month.
(Production: Iain Axon)