This year, the prestigious Ballon d’Or will not be awarded due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The Ballon d’Or, awarded by France Football magazine, has been given out every year since Stanley Matthews won the first one in 1956. Lionel Messi has won it a record six times — one more than longtime rival Cristiano Ronaldo.
The magazine started giving out a women's award in 2018, but that has also been put on hold.
“It’s such a strange year that we couldn’t treat it as an ordinary one. Let’s say that we started talking about (making the decision) at least two months ago,” France Football editor Pascal Ferré told The Associated Press in a telephone interview., reports AP.
“It isn’t a decision we took lightly but we had to accept it couldn’t be a normal or typical Ballon d’Or winner, and what really worried us it that it wouldn’t be fairly awarded.”
Because the game’s rules have been modified during the pandemic, the award itself was impacted.
“The season started with certain rules and ended with other rules. In January and February, soccer was played in front of full stands. Then from May and June it was with empty stands,” Ferré said. “Then we had the five substitutes rule and not three. Then other changes happened in terms of the competitions, notably the final eight (eight-team knockout format) for the Champions League when it had started with home and away legs.”
With the European Championship and the Copa America postponed this year, the Champions League would have massively weighed on the award’s outcome but with a format inadvertently providing a shortcut for an eventual victor.
“The Ballon d’Or would have been decided over just three games: quarterfinal, semifinal, final,” Ferré said. “There were loads of changes (to soccer’s rules) which are totally legitimate and which we don’t contest given the worldwide health crisis, but we couldn’t consider this as a typical year. Exceptional circumstances led to an exceptional decision.”
The Kopa Trophy for the best player under 21 and the Lev Yashin award for best goalkeeper have also been canceled this year, Ferré said.
Ronaldo, who will be 36 in February, can still win an Italian league-Champions League double with Juventus this season, but he is not the only player affected by France Football's decision.
Bayern Munich striker Robert Lewandowski reached 50 club goals for the first time and can win a treble. Kylian Mbappé and Neymar can clinch quadruples for Paris Saint-Germain.
“Look at Lewandowski’s performances this year, his form has been at the level of Messi and Ronaldo,” Ferré said. “And Paris players, imagine if they win the Champions League.”
To maintain the award’s authenticity and level of suspense, players were not informed of the decision before the announcement.
“We are independent and autonomous enough not to have to raise our little finger and ask what they think,” Ferré said. “We will take their frustration as a sign of their attachment to the award.”
Without the Ballon d'Or, The Best awards by FIFA will be the prized individual honors in world soccer this year.
FIFA plans to organise the voting in several categories but it is unclear how or where the awards will be made.
If the virus impacts next season the same way, however, the Ballon d'Or award will be awarded.
“It would be less of a problem in terms of fairness, because this time around we’ve had two parts to the season: normal and not normal,” Ferré said. “Imagine that in 2021 all matches are played behind closed doors (without fans) and with five subs. We would adapt, because it would be comparable.”
To fill this year’s gap, the magazine created another trophy: the France Football Dream Team.
The magazine’s jury of 180 will elect history’s best team from a shortlist of five players in each position. The star-studded lineup will be known sometime in autumn.
Ronaldo will not be able to equal Messi this year, but he could find himself in the same team for the first time.
World Football's governing body FIFA and Bangladesh Football Federation (BFF) lifted the player registration and transfer ban placed on BPL Football Club Saif Sporting, as the club settled all the financial disputes with foreign booters.
In a media release on Saturday (July 18), the BFF said they lifted the ban against Saif SC as per advice of the FIFA disciplinary committee as all the economic responsibilities had been met by the club.
FIFA imposed the ban on Saif Sporting last May as the club failed to make payment in schedule time after three foreign booters filed separate complaints against them to FIFA over payment complications.
The BFF formally carried the FIFA’s decision to Bangladesh Premier League Club Saif Sporting Club.
The incident occurred two seasons back in 2017 when three foreign players came to Bangladesh to give trial to play for Saif Sporting Club. But, the Club were not satisfied with the standard of the three players and sent them back without registering, which triggered the problem between the two sides over the payment.
Following the incident, three foreign players Macko Viliam (Slovakia), Sava Gardasevic (Montenegro ) and Goran Obradovic (Serbia) lodged complain to FIFA and the FIFA disciplinary committee gave three separate verdicts in favor of the three players in mid-March, ordering Saif SC to pay a combined $100,000.
But Saif SC failed to pay within the stipulated time, triggering the ban that effectively shut out any new players from joining the club.
More recently however, Saif SC cleared all the outstanding payments of the three foreign footballers, and accordingly the restrictions it faced have been lifted.
President of Bangladesh Football Federation (BFF) Kazi Mohammad Salahuddin wants to start the fitness training of the national team by this month appointing a trainer as the booters out of the game for long time due to Coronavirus pandemic.
The BFF boss said this on Saturday (July 11) afternoon while he exchanged views with senior booters of the national team and Bangladesh Premier League (BPL) clubs at the BFF Artificial turf in Motijheel area of the capital.
BFF vice presidents Kazi Nabil Ahmed and Tabith Awal, and BFF general secretary Abu Nayeem Shohag were also present at the meeting.
Some 27 senior players from 12 BPL football clubs participated in the meeting where they asked BFF president to start the country's domestic football as soon as possible.
Bangladesh national team players urged the Bangladesh Football Federation to solve the financial crisis of the players at all-level and start next season’s football league as soon as possible.
Talking to the players, Salahuddin said I wants to start the fitness training of the national team before the arrival of national head coach Jamie Day in mid August .
The reappointed Head Coach of Bangladesh National Football Team Jamie Day will take the charge in mid August ahead of Bangladesh's next four Joint Qualifiers matches of the FIFA World Cup 2022 and AFC Asian Cup 2023 eyeing on some points from the matches.
Giving emphasis on four World Cup and Asian Cup joint qualifiers, Salahuddin said " Our first match will start on October 8 (against Afghanistan) and you know what to do, I want to start training to improve your fitness level by this month ".
"I will talk with national teams committee to appoint a trainer to start fitness trainer " he added.
As per the new schedule proposed by AFC, Bangladesh will host Afghanistan India and Oman on October 8, November 12 and 17 respectively while they will meet the Asian champions Qatar in their lone away match on October 13.
Earlier, Bangladesh started their campaign in FIFA and AFC joint qualifiers with a 0-1 defeat against Afghanistan in the first match in the Tajik capital of Dushanbe on September 10, conceded a 0-2 goals defeat against Asian champions Qatar in the second match in Dhaka on October 10, played to a 1-1 draw against India in their third match in Kolkata on October 15 and conceded 1-4 goals defeat against Oman in the fourth match at the Seeb Sports Stadium in Al Seeb city of Oman on November 14 last year.
In the five-team Group E, Qatar is now leading the point table with 13 points from five matches while Bangladesh are at the bottom place with one point from four matches. Among others, Oman secured 12, Afghanistan 4 and India 3 points.
The country’s domestic sports activities including BPL 2019-20 came to an premature closure in last March due to deadly Coronavirus pandemic and nobody knows when the country's sports activities will resume.
Local players' livelihood suffered a jolt when the 12th edition of the Bangladesh Premier League was declared null and void by BFF on May 17 due to virus.
The players insisted BFF to sit with premier league playing club authorities and find a solution to clear their due payments so that the players can lead their lives smoothly amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
‘We players are in dire straits as we have no income for more than four months. It is becoming difficult for all of us to bear our family expenses as the players have no other job to do for income,’ said former national team captain and current player Mamunul Islam Mamun.
‘We are also urging BFF to take an initiative to start the next season’s league as soon as possible and to sit with the club authorities to sort out a solution for players due payment as no one has received his full payment from their yet,’ he added.
The Youth and Sports Ministry is yet to determine about resumption of the domestic sports.The State Minister for Youth and Sports Zahid Ahsan Russell, MP, sat with the top officials of the different federations in an emergency meeting last Thursday and after the meeting the State Minister said the ministry was mulling to resume sports activities subjected to opinion of health ministry.
Bangladesh Football Federation (BFF) reappointed Paul Smalley of England as the national Technical Director for two years on Wednesday (June 1) for its technical department.
His tenure will start in the middle of August like the two other Englishmen -- national football team head coach Jamie Day and assistant coach Stuart Watkiss.
Paul Smalley was reappointed for the post as per the recommendation of BFF technical committee and as well as the written consent of majority BFF members.
Of the 21 member BFF Executive Committee, 15 members gave their consent in favour of Paul, four opposed his candidature and the rest two were refrained from giving their consent.
Paul Smalley left the BFF job on October 20 last year after completion of his three-year contract as the Federation didn’t extend his contract due to his demand of a higher salary.
Smalley, who had later joined The National Football Association of Brunei Darussalam after BFF, but was keen to return to his old workplace in Bangladesh.
"I am excited to be given the opportunity to join the Federation again as I really enjoyed my time previously. The president rekindled my desire by a passionate vision and plan to continue the development of football in Bangladesh" .Paul Smalley was quoted in a BFF media release.
BFF president Kazi Salahuddin also welcomed his return.
"We are excited and pleased to have Paul back with the Federation. Paul is an experienced and modern technical director and enjoyed a successful time previously with us."said BFF boss Kazi Salahuddin.
During his previous tenure, Smalley mostly worked with the women’s age-group teams and conducted some coaching courses but failed to make any notable contribution to the national team.