The STATSports SuperCupNI youth football tournament, due to start on August 2nd, has been cancelled.
Organisers say the decision was taken after considering expert advice on health and safety issues in light of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
It is the first time in 38 years that the competition, which features three age groups, will not be staged.
Tournament chairman Victor Leonard said it was a “heart-breaking” decision but added that for obvious reasons they had no other option but to call it off.
“We left it as long as possible but with the ongoing uncertainty over the road map ahead for sport in general during the current situation globally, we knew the 2020 event would not be feasible,”
“The current advice going forward remains the same as far as sporting activities are concerned.
“All our stakeholders were involved in weighing up the situation and they, along with our vast team of volunteers, are disappointed at losing the event this year.
“They all put so much effort into ensuring the tournament runs smoothly and we are indebted to them for their commitment, many have been involved over decades.”
“The world of sport has ground to a halt because of the virus and although we always held out some hope that circumstances might improve faster, this has not happened.
“This is the only outcome for us at this time even though it is hard on so many people.
“We are all proud of what we have achieved since our first event in 1983. We have grown steadily, sometimes against the odds, to become a key part of Northern Ireland’s event tourism schedule.
“We have a worldwide reputation for excellence which has been built up through dedication and hard work down the years.
“I know there are many disappointed young footballers from around the world who had been pinning their hopes on joining us this summer and our own local footballers were looking forward to pitting their skills against these players from different countries but their safety and that of our supporters and tournament staff is paramount at all times.
”I can assure everyone that we are already examining ways to enhance the competition going forward towards 2021.
“We plan to be active over the summer months on our various social media platforms to continue to reflect and celebrate memories of our world class tournament.”