The Toulon Tounament - now known as the Maurice Revello Tournament - has been cancelled because of the coronavirus ©Getty Images

The Toulon Tournament has been cancelled for the first time in its 53-year history after the French Government tightened restrictions in the south of France due to a surge in COVID-19 cases.

The international youth football competition - now known as the Maurice Revello Tournament – was initially scheduled to take place from June 1 to 14 before being postponed following the outbreak of coronavirus.

Organisers had hoped to reschedule the 12-nation competition for December, but have now agreed to call it off.

The competition has previously been graced by the likes of Jean-Pierre Papin, Alan Shearer, James Rodriguez, Javier Mascherano and Thierry Henry.

France has been one of the hardest hit countries by the pandemic, recording 1.17 million cases – the fifth highest tally in the world – and more than 35,000 deaths.

Yesterday, the country’s hospital registered 1,307 new coronavirus patients - the biggest one-day increase since April 2.

In a bid to curb the rise in infections, the French Government recently extended its curfew measures to include 54 areas, including Bouches-du-Rhône – where the Toulon Tournament is held.

The move has resulted in organisers making the "difficult decision" to cancel the competition.

Brazil celebrate after winning last year's Maurice Revello Tournament on penalties against Japan ©Getty Images
Brazil celebrate after winning last year's Maurice Revello Tournament on penalties against Japan ©Getty Images

"Last April, when we announced the postponement of the Maurice Revello Tournament’s 48th edition, the Organising Committee took the time to reflect: should we totally skip this year 2020 or should we try to reschedule it at the end of the calendar year?," a statement from tournament organisers read.

"We had opted for the second option, aiming to reschedule the Maurice Revello Tournament 2020 in December which is obviously an unprecedented challenge.

"This lapse of time allowed us to rework on the organisation of our event and meanwhile to set up all the specific arrangements related to Covid-19 in order to ensure the safety of everyone involved in this event.

"Supported by our major partners, the project started to take shape as several national teams - Japan, Chile, Ivory Coast, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Vietnam and Indonesia  - agreed to take part in this rescheduled tournament planned to be held in December.

"However, as you have seen, the sanitary situation is deteriorating again in Europe and especially in Southern France, with an upsurge in the number of positive Covid-19 cases.

"The situation has led the French government to set up a curfew in different departments including Bouches-du-Rhône, the home of the Maurice Revello Tournament."

Brazil are the defending champions after securing their ninth title with victory over Japan on penalties last year.