The 2021 Shrine Bowl of the Carolinas has been cancelled due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the game’s Board of Governors announced Thursday.

The annual matchup of the top football players in North and South Carolina was set for December 18 at Gibbs Stadium in Spartanburg. The game is held each year as a fundraiser for the Shriners Hospitals.

“Since the beginning of COVID-19 pandemic, the Shrine Bowl Athletic Department and Medical Staff have continued their due diligence in trying to prepare for the upcoming annual Shrine Bowl game,” said Ronnie Blount, game chairman.

“With the pandemic continuing to evolve, the current circumstances and the monumental efforts required in safely preparing for Shrine Bowl Week in Spartanburg and playing the game are those that the Board feels we cannot achieve in the best interest of everyone at this time.

“In short, if we are not able to produce a great quality game as we have done for 83 years and provide the best game environment possible for our sponsors, players, coaches, staff, medical personnel and patrons, then we should not play the game this year.”

The cancellation is the second straight for the organization due to the coronavirus pandemic. As was the case in 2020, Blount said that the selected coaching staffs would still gather and choose the 44 players from each state that typically comprise the game rosters.

Blount said the Board of Governors voted unanimously to cancel the 2021 game and will turn its focus to next season’s game, set for Dec. 17, 2022.