A planned college football game between the University of Notre Dame and the United States Naval Academy in August has been moved from the Republic of Ireland to the United States in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The inaugural encounter of the five-game Aer Lingus College Football Series was scheduled to take place August 29 at Aviva Stadium in Dublin. It is now due to be held on either September 5 or 6 at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium in Annapolis, Maryland, and televised nationally by ESPN or ABC.
Around 40,000 fans had been expected to travel from the US to attend the sold-out game.
“Our priority must be ensuring the health and safety of all involved,” Navy athletic director Chet Gladchuk said in a statement. “I am expecting that we will still be able to play Notre Dame as our season opener, but there is still much to be determined by health officials and those that govern college football at large.”
Leo Varadkar, the Prime Minister of Ireland, added: “College football is one of the greatest spectacles in world sport and we had been thoroughly looking forward to welcoming Navy and Notre Dame here this summer. Unfortunately, due to circumstances beyond our control, that is now not possible. But we hope to see both universities return to Aviva Stadium in the coming years.”
Navy and Notre Dame will continue to work closely with the event organizers to plan for a return to Ireland in the coming years, it was announced.
The Illinois Fighting Illini and Nebraska Cornhuskers are scheduled to face each other in the Aer Lingus College Football Classic at Aviva Stadium on August 28, 2021.
Last month, a planned college basketball game between the Michigan Wolverines and Kentucky Wildcats at London’s O2 Arena in December was postponed until 2022.