With coronavirus onside, 2020 Ballon d'Or 'flagged offside'

Created in 1956 by France Football, the Ballon d’Or has become the most prestigious individual trophy in the world.

There will be no Ballon d’Or winner in 2020, with France Football announcing that due to the “lack of sufficient fair conditions”, the prize that has been dominated by Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo in recent times will not be awarded for this calendar year.





A prestigious Golden Ball has been handed out to the best player on the planet since 1956, however the decision has been taken that it would not be right to pick out a leading performer given the circumstances in which professional sport is currently being played.



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.



Announcement on Ballon d’Or no show for 2020



As the organizer of the Ballon d’Or, the Group L’Équipe, to which France Football belongs, decided not to award the most prestigious individual trophy there is in 2020.



Pascal Ferré, editor-in-chief of France Football:



« 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 eleven 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’s Final 8 played in a single game).



Finally, the equity that prevails for this honorary title will not be warranted, especially when it comes to accounting and preparation : all the award seekers will not be in the same boat, some having seen their season cut short. Therefore, how can we establish a fair comparison? To avoid overly convoluted calculations and projections, we chose the least bad of the options.



This decision, which was taken of course with all the Group stakeholders, does not delight us but it seems to be the most responsible one. Protecting the credibility and legitimacy of such an award also means ensuring its flawlessness over time.



The Ballon d’Or will gather again the football big family and enthusiasts in 2021, to relive the happiness that surrounds the ceremonies as we have experienced them in recent years ».



The France Football Dream Team at the end of the year



Instead of the four usual winners (men and women BO, Kopa and Yachine Trophies), France Football will designate 11 players at the end of the year and establish an all-time team chosen by the usual BO jury (180 juries from all over the world).



The idea? Each jury will choose 11 players from a list of names established by FF redaction to build their Dream Team. This team of legend will be unveiled on L’Équipe and France Football various channels.



About the Ballon d’Or



Created in 1956 by France Football redaction, the Ballon d’Or has become the most prestigious individual trophy in the world. The greatest football players, such as Johan Cruyff, George Weah, Zinédine Zidane or Cristiano Ronaldo, have won it.



Since 2018, the Ballon d’Or also rewards the best female football player.



Two other trophies complement the BO « galaxy » : the Kopa Trophy, awarded to the best young player since 2018, and the Yachine Trophy, handed to the best goalkeeper since 2019.

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Senegalese allege racism in Diack corruption verdict

Dakar residents alleged racism and said Wednesday’s verdict by a Paris court was unjust.

Senegal and the sporting world has been shaken after the former head of the world athletics body, Lamine Diack, was found guilty of corruption by a Paris court.

Residents in Dakar alleged racism and said Wednesday's verdict by a Paris court was unjust.

"As a Senegalese, I think it was an injustice to condemn him. African people are tired because if Lamine Diack was a white person, he would not be sued, arrested," said Cheriphe Toure.

"It is not normal, he is a Senegalese, he is about 80 years old and they want to put him in prison, he is tired. The trial (against Diack) is not a real trial, it's just politics."

Lamine, an 87-year-old Senegalese, was charged for his role in a scheme that allowed Russian athletes to pay bribes to keep competing when they should have been suspended for doping after they paid bribes.

Prosecutors said Diack solicited $5.5 million in bribes and paid off other officials at the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) to help with the cover-up.

The court handed Diack a four-year prison sentence, two years of which are suspended and a fine of $590,000.

He was also ordered to pay €5 million in damages to World Athletics (formerly IAAF) with his son and co-accused, Papa Massata Diack.

From 1999-2015 Diack was the head of the IAAF and was influential in the world of Olympic sports.

Diack's lawyers said they would appeal the verdict.

"I think if the law is valid in France, it will be overturned because it's really unfair," Abdoulaye Diagne, Coordinator of the support committee for Lamine Diack.

Africans Marking Football Around the Globe

A brief spotlight on some notable African players making an impact on international football.

Riyad Mahrez, hailing from Algeria - the Manchester City star has tested positive for coronavirus, according to the club’s spokesperson. Although asymptomatic, he is currently self-isolating.

The 29-year old 2016 Best African Player titleholder, is due to begin the Premier League season with the team's first fixture on September 21st. As yet, it is still unclear as to when he contracted the virus and whether he will be able to play.

Ansu Fati, the football prodigy born in Guinea Bissau, broke a 95-year record after only 311 days - as at just 17 years old he has become the youngest ever goal-scorer of the Spanish National Team.

The next Lionel Messi?

He made his historical mark in the winning 4 nil match against Ukraine in the UEFA Nations League on Sunday.

After he became Barcelona’s youngest goalscorer in La Liga last season and the youngest to ever score in the European Champions League, he is viewed by many as the next Lionel Messi.

Cedric Bakambu continues to shine in China. The Congolese striker added a new goal to his 2020 collection a week after scoring 4 goals in a single game.

Despite a 2-goal lead against Wuhan Zall, his team Beijing Guoan had to concede a 2-2 draw. This was thanks to a late equaliser from the other African star of the league, Ivorian striker, Jean Evrard Kouassi.

Drogba’s FIF Presidential Candidacy Bid Rejected

Didier Drogba has been announced unsuccessful at filing a FIF presidential candidacy bid.

Access Denied

International football star, Didier Drogba, received some bad news on Thursday when the Electoral Commission of the Ivorian Soccer Federation (FIF) rejected his candidacy for the presidency of the federation. "The electoral commission (...) rejects the candidacy of Mr. Drogba Tébily Didier Yves Tébily," reads a section of Article 5 of the negative decision of the commission.

Rejected but with the possibility to appeal

This rejection was based on criticisms of the former striker for several eligibility requirement breaches and highlights the challenges the star faced in trying to establish himself within the Ivorian football industry in spite of his international status, athletic track record and personal wealth — and beyond just being a player on the field.

Eligibility Requirements

Drogba, who was partly trained in France and once played for European clubs, Chelsea and Marseille, only managed to obtain sponsorship of two first division clubs — one short of the three required.

Although he does, in fact, have three club sponsors on file, the third technically did not count as it came by way of the vice-president and not the president himself who gave his support to the president of the League, Sory Diabaté (who boasts the support of six Division 1 clubs).

Interest groups also must follow the same rules as each candidate is required to obtain sponsorship of at least one of five in particular. Drogba was unable to garner support from neither the Alumni Association nor the Ivorian Players Association.

Likewise, on file, he did have the support of the association of referees (AMAF). However, it was a similar situation of falling short by a technicality as "the sponsorship" was from a person "who does not have the capacity to legally commit the AMAF," according to the electoral commission.

Public and Peer Opinion

One of the most famous and celebrated public Ivorian personalities, Didier Drogba, has been a treasure to the country's national football team and has received from many of his former teammates and peers such as Eugène Diomande, the Yaya and Kolo Touré brothers, Aruna Dindane and many others.

Many fans and peers still support Drogba

On the other hand, some of his other industry colleagues have shown support for Idriss Diallo, the former 3rd vice-president of the Fif (supported in particular by the current vice-president of the Fif), such as Cyril Domoraud, Bonaventure Kalou or Ahmed Ouattara.
Still more colleagues such as Didier Zokora, Youssouf Fofana and Abdoulaye Traore (known as Ben Badi) supported the president of the League, Sory Diabaté.

The Ivorian football icon has five days to make an appeal to the governing commission.

US Black Pro Athletes Boycott Games to Say #BLM

Pro athletes in the United States are protesting African-American man Jacob black being shot seven times by police while unarmed.

“Black Lives Matter,” a message being reiterated by professional athletes across diverse sports in the United States as stadiums see some players showing visual displays of solidarity while others are refusing to play at all as a form of protest

Basketball games were postponed as the league grappled to handle the player boycotts inspired by the most recent known racially-charged incident of 29-year-old African American Jacob Blake who was shot seven times by police officers in Wisconsin. Milwaukee Bucks led the boycott, opting out of their playoff against the Orlando Magic. The game's governing body, the NBA, later announced in a Tweet that the other matches in the series had been postponed.

Black athletes in the USA stage protest against police brutality

Three major league baseball matches were called off. The Mets clash with Miami Marlins went ahead but one player staged his own protest. Dominic Smith, New York Mets player, tearfully expressed his frustrations, "People still don't care. For this to continuously happen, it just shows just the hate in people's heart. That just sucks. Being a black man in America, it's not easy."

In addition to baseball, even tennis saw half Haitian-American champion Naomi Osaka withdraw from a major tournament to support the movement as more and more athletes use their platforms to fight racial injustice in the country.

A series of events that are reminiscent of the now blackballed American football player, Colin Kaepernick, who took a stand against police brutality against black people in the nation by taking a knee in 2016 — in line with the Black Lives Matter movement.

A dynamic movement birthed in 2013 by three black women — Alicia Garza, Patrisse Cullors and Opal Tometi, to combat police brutality taking black lives.

Numerous black people die in incidents of police brutality each year in the USA

The #BLM hashtag has since been revived tenfold on a global scale following the slayings by the police of George Floyd and Breona Taylor in the Spring of 2020 in the United States with protests occurring across the globe demanding an end to racial injustice suffered by black people in every sphere of life.

The recent athlete boycott in the United States in a show of solidarity with the movement is yet another step in the global marathon towards true racial equality.

Fans react as Football star Lionel Messi triggers Barca departure

After nearly two decades with the Spanish giants, Lionel Messi has told Barcelona he wants to leave the club.

Some fans are protesting. But these are not the usual protesters you'd find on a political train. They are football lovers gathered outside their favourite club Camp Nou to clamour for their idol to stay.

After nearly two decades with the Spanish giants, Lionel Messi has told Barcelona he wants to leave the club.

The club confirmed on Tuesday the Argentine sent a document expressing his desire to activate a release clause that would end his contract.

"The strange thing is that he has not left the club before. It is absolutely disgraceful what this board of directors have been doing since 2010. Even with Sandro Rosell, before the arrival of Bartomeu. They have lost all valuable things at the club. Guardiola, (Johan) Cruyff and now Messi. So this ends with Messi leaving and a shameful 8-2 defeat (against Bayern Munich in the UEFA Champions League)." 25 year old Adria Corchero, a journalist and fan of Messi said.

For Sergi Riera, a 36-year-old restaurant worker, "this cannot just be allowed. Because in the end, Messi is the little happiness that we can have right now. They must do something. They should resign and try to talk to him tomorrow (Wednesday). Anything."

Baracelona have not officially replied yet but are understood to be preparing one.

The announcement comes 11 days after Barcelona's humiliating 8-2 loss to Bayern Munich in the Champions League quarter-finals, one of the worst defeats in the player's career and in the club's history.

The defeat capped a difficult season for Barcelona - the first without a trophy since 2007-08 - and ignited one of their worst crises ever.

Messi has won a record six Ballon d'Or awards during his time at Barcelona as the top player in the world, and has helped the club win 10 Spanish league titles and four Champions Leagues.

Any club in the world, surely, would jump at the opportunity to recruit the Argentine superstar, but it remains to be seen what club can afford him and where indeed hed love to go.