AFL tell GAA they will not be travelling for International Rules series in November

By John Fogarty
GAA Correspondent

The International Rules series set to take place in Ireland later this year has been postponed as a result of the coronavirus crisis.

Although the GAA have not yet made a statement, the AFL announced earlier today that the games scheduled for November, the first since 2017, will not now be going ahead.

As their season could now run into December, it is understood they contacted the GAA yesterday to inform them they would not be travelling.

As both organisations assess the damage caused by the pandemic to their fixture calendars, it had been anticipated the hybrid game would be held off. The second test was scheduled for Croke Park on November 21 as part of the Bloody Sunday commemoration with the footballers of Dublin and Tipperary taking part in a challenge game as the curtain-raiser. It had been hinted the first game on November 15 would be fixed for Páirc Uí Chaoimh.

"Due to the current circumstances, the International Rules Series scheduled for this year has been postponed,” stated the AFL. “At an appropriate time, we will work with the GAA on potentially resuming the series in coming years."

Late last year, the GAA and AFL agreed there would be a return series in Australia in 2022 but the future of the concept is now in serious doubt. This is the fourth postponement in recent times.

Following the suspension of action, at least seven Irish AFL players returned home last month including Mark Keane (Cork and Collingwood) Conor McKenna (Tyrone and Essendon) and Anton Tohill (Derry and Collingwood).

The financial crisis brought about by the pandemic is not only expected to curb the AFL’s recruitment policy in Ireland but may force clubs to end some contracts as they are compelled to cut squad lists and reduce their salaries.

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