AFL statement on IRS return to Australia in 2017
Tuesday, May 03 2016 @ 08:35 am ACST
Contributed by: Troy Thompson
Following on from the announcement in Ireland the day before the AFL released their own statement on the IRS last night.
The GAA and the AFL today announced they would play a two-match International Rules Test Series in Australia in 2017.
It was also confirmed that, in addition, the Associations have committed to a further two-game Series in Ireland, as well as exploring the adaptation of the game for an exhibition Series in the United States in the future, as part of an agreement reached to play a further three series in all, each of two matches apiece, in the coming years.
Following on from the success of the two recent one-off Tests played in Australia (Perth in November 2014) and Ireland (Dublin in November 2015), the two controlling boards had agreed the appetite was there among fans, players and coaches of both countries to return to a two-Test series for a further three series, with the commitment of the elite players of both countries to be involved.
It had been agreed:
· Australia will host a two-match series in November 2017, with match venues to be determined later this year.
· Ireland will host a two-match series with the year and venues to be agreed.
· The GAA and the AFL will seek to play a two-match series in the United States.
Uachtarán Chumann Lúthchleas Gael Aogán Ó Fearghail said; "It was not possible to organise a two-game series in Australia this year and for that reason we have decided to take a long term view of the series and press pause for 2016.
"The success of the last two series has been based on the ability of both teams to attract the finest talent to their ranks making for close, competitive and entertaining games. The aim of the series continuing in this vein is shared by both organisations and we believe these aspirations are best served by the staging of two games in a given year.
“We have committed to three Series’ for the moment, beginning in Australia in 2017 with the timing for the Irish and US events to be confirmed later in the year as to whether they should take place in consecutive years, every second year or some other combination”
AFL General Manager Football Operations Mark Evans said:
“The last two years of the International Rules matches played in 2014 and 2015 was able to showcase the best aspects of our two respective sports,’ Mr Evans said.
“The absolute best players in the AFL, all of whom had won at least one All Australian selection in their career, were able to come together and learn from each other and compete against an outstanding Ireland side in a great spirit with a fast, action-packed game. We were fortunate enough to win in Perth and then pipped at the line in Dublin last year by a high-class Irish side that rose to the occasion in front of their home fans and fully deserved their victory.
“A series over two matches, as we used to play, will enable the players from both our sides to spend more time with the elite players of their respective code, and to satisfy the demand for fans who want to see more than one match of the very best players competing for the Cormac Macanallen Trophy.
‘We look forward to hosting Ireland again, returning to Irish shores and exploring how we can take matches or exhibition games to the many expat Irish and Australians living in the US in the years ahead,” he said.