The SP Sports Awards will not be take place this year ©PNGOC

The Papua New Guinea Olympic Committee (PNGOC) has confirmed the cancellation of this year’s SP Sports Awards after talks with main sponsors SP Brewery and the PNG Sports Foundation.

SP Brewery told the PNGOC and the PNG Sports Foundation that the coronavirus pandemic had impacted the company’s cashflow, meaning it could not hold the event this year.

The company had warned in March that the coronavirus outbreak could lead to the event being postponed.

It is the first time since the awards were established in 1992 that the event has been cancelled.

"We have been staging this auspicious event for 28 years and this is the first time we’ve had to cancel," John Nilkare, SP Brewery’s corporate affairs manager, said.

"The current situation with COVID-19 has presented many challenges to our business which forces us to make tough decisions that will, unfortunately, affect our partners and stakeholders.

"I thank PNGOC and PNGSF for their understanding in these unprecedented times and we look forward to a stronger year next year.

"The liquor bans and restrictions endured by the Brewery and its customers under the state of emergency was the main reason why we had to cancel.

"Our cash position simply does not allow us to celebrate our sporting successes with our sporting elites."

The SP Sports Awards has been held annually since 1992 ©SP Sports Awards
The SP Sports Awards has been held annually since 1992 ©SP Sports Awards

The SP Sports Awards were launched in February this year with the nominations scheduled to close on April 3.

The awards ceremony was scheduled for May 30.

All nominations for the awards will be kept on file until next year’s event, with organisers requesting that individuals or teams intending to nominate this year instead submit their nomination forms in 2021.

This year's awards were expected to reward athletes for the country’s impressive performance at the 2019 Pacific Games in Samoa.

Papua New Guinea finished second in the medals table behind New Caledonia.

A total of 13 prizes were expected to be presented on the evening, including the new Stan Joyce Award.

The honour would recognise organisations that provide outstanding support through their continued partnership and collaboration with sport in Papua New Guinea.