Mids vs. Irish in danger of cancellation?

In a slightly strange story coming out of Dublin it seems that the Emerald Isle Classic is under some threat of cancellation. With just over three weeks to go until the season opener, and with thousands of fans having flights, hotel rooms, and tickets reserved for the game, any such piece of news will be a worry for the administrations of both schools.

The sold out game at Aviva Stadium is expected to boost the Irish economy by around $100 million, but there is a hang up based on some agreed contract terms not being fulfilled. The Irish American Football Association (IAFA) is threatening High Court action against the Naval Academy this month unless the terms of the sanctioning agreement (which allows the game to take place) are met soon.

In March 2011, after six months of contract negotiations, Navy and the IAFA put pen to paper on the deal which allowed the Emerald Isle Classic to exist. Part of the deal was for provisions from Navy which would help the grassroots development of football in Ireland and thus grow the game. The most important part of this deal was the setting up and funding of a flag-football program which would see 1500 Irish schoolchildren exposed to the game.

In order to start this program Navy was to set up a bank account in Ireland which both the Academy and an Independent Panel would use to facilitate the flag-football programs growth. The IAFA is saying that at this point no bank account has been set up and that no progress has been made in setting up the program. In addition the governing body is claiming that Navy has failed to show the event is insured and that there are a number of health and safety matters surrounding the game which have not been addressed.

Muddling the situation is the fact that no one seems quite sure if the IAFA has any authority in this situation. Navy has outwardly commented that the International Federation of American Football (IFAF) has told them that the IAFA has no jurisdiction over the game and therefore the game will go ahead as planned.

It seems that both sides are sticking firmly to their positions and until further clarification is given the game will be in semi limbo. Either way, it is something worth noting for the expected 33,000 Americans who are set to travel to Dublin to see their teams play.

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