For the first time since 1991, the glamorous World Footballer of the Year will not hold due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The awards, started by France Football magazine later became a collaboration with the World Football body, FIFA with German captain and Inter Millan defender, Lothar Matthaus winning the inaugural edition of that merger.
The duo of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo have dominated the awards as the winners of the most of the editions.
Messi was the winner in 2019. Since there will be no winner for 2020, the Argentine will be the defending champion for another year. Virgil van Dijk and Cristiano Ronaldo were the runners up in 2019.
According to Marca last night, FIFA decided to cancel the ‘The Best’ awards ceremony because of coronavirus that has put all sporting activities on hold pending the time human race will conquer the pandemic.
The Spanish newspaper insisted that FIFA will leave the 2019/2020 season without a winner.
The ceremony was supposed to take place in September of this year in Milan, but social and health conditions have made FIFA cancel this year’s edition.
With FIFA no longer planning for this year’s award there is a likelihood of the Confederation of African Football (CAF) following in the path of the world body by also cancelling it’s continental programme.
If that happens, the duo of Senegalese Sadio Mane and Nigeria’s Asisat Oshoala are primed to retain their respective Men and Women’s titles for another 12 months.,
Meanwhile, FIFA will hold its first virtual Congress this year after the annual gathering of its member federations in Addis Ababa has been postponed.
FIFA pushed back the Congress in the Ethiopian capital from June to September in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, but the Bureau of its Council has now decided to stage it as an online event.
FIFA said the Congress would take place on September 18.
It is not yet clear what technology and voting systems will be used for the Congress, nor whether Ethiopia will be given the chance to host a future edition of the annual meeting.
Governing bodies in sport have been forced to use video technology to hold key meetings during the coronavirus pandemic, which has severely restricted international travel and prompted Governments to ban mass gatherings.
FIFA is the latest International federation to announce plans to stage the annual meeting of its supreme body remotely.
The International Rowing Federation’s Congress later this year will hold remotely, while World Sailing is considering a virtual Annual General Meeting, including its Presidential election, if the event cannot be staged as planned.
The Bureau of the FIFA Council, comprising President Gianni Infantino and the heads of each of the six confederations, have also rescheduled two major women’s tournaments earlier planned to take place this year.
The Under-20 Women’s World Cup, to be jointly hosted by Costa Rica and Panama, has been pushed back from its initial August and September slot to January 20 to February 6.
The Under-17 Women’s World Cup in India, originally scheduled for November 2 to 21, has been rearranged for February 17 to March 7, 2021.
FIFA confirmed both tournaments would keep their original eligibility criteria.