Rules series postponed as recession bites Aussies
The International Rules series between Ireland and Australia, scheduled over two weekends in October and November, has been deferred for 12 months.
In a shock move, the AFL made contact with the GAA in recent days and outlined that, due to economic pressures, they would be unable to fulfil their obligation to bring a team to Ireland in the autumn.
The AFL are scheduled to run a deficit of somewhere between Aus$5m and Aus$6m this year due to falling revenues from broadcasting and sponsorship.
Croke Park's operations manager, Fergal McGill, confirmed last night that the AFL had made a commitment to the GAA to restart the series in 2010. The two tests were due to take place in Limerick at the end of October and Croke Park in early November.
Both countries had previously agreed to take a break from the series in 2010 before it resumed again in Australia in 2011.
The move by the Australians will come as a massive disappointment to the GAA after the success of the series in Australia last October and November.
The AFL had been keen to resume the series last year after the violence of Croke Park in 2006 triggered the GAA into pulling the games in 2007.
"The AFL made contact with us, explained the situation but promised to resume in 2010," said McGill.
The GAA are expected to issue a statement this morning.